New EU Packaging Regulation: Uncertainty and Investment Implications for the Food Industry in Finland

Finland faces costs of hundreds of millions due to EU agreement to reduce packaging

The European Parliament and the Council of Member States have reached a preliminary agreement on the packaging waste regulation, which aims to reduce packaging waste generation, set binding reuse targets, and limit certain types of single-use packaging. This has significant implications for the packaging industry and the food industry, which heavily relies on packaging.

According to Satumaija Levón, responsibility director of the Finnish Food Industry Association, there may be two parallel bottle return systems in Finland in the future due to conflicting requirements for packaging waste recycling and reuse targets. The negotiators have agreed on reducing packaging by specific percentages by 2030, 2035, and 2040. Certain single-use packaging types will be banned by 2030, such as fresh fruits and vegetable packages, individually packaged spices and sugar, and mini-sized hygiene packages.

The Finnish food industry sees this new legislation as creating uncertainty and imposing new investment requirements. The industry believes that significant changes in packaging practices and production processes will be required. A key aspect of the regulation is setting a reuse target for beverage packaging by 2030. The negotiators also agreed that distributors of drinks and take-away food must provide options for consumers to bring their own containers. However, concerns have been raised about the potential cost and logistical challenges of compliance with the new legislation for the Finnish food industry.

The agreement also raises issues about conflicting bottle return systems in Finland due to differing requirements for packaging waste recycling and reuse targets. Advocacy organizations have expressed concerns about the impact of the regulation on fresh food packaging and the need for exemptions and transition periods. The costs of meeting EU regulations could be substantial for the food industry, affecting research, development

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