New Packaging Waste Regulation Aims to Reduce Overpackaging in Europe by 2030

Finland may face high costs with EU agreement on two bottle return systems and hefty bill

The European Parliament and the Council of Member States have reached a preliminary agreement on the details of the packaging waste regulation. This regulation aims to reduce packaging waste generation, set binding reuse targets, and limit certain types of single-use packaging. The agreement is significant as it will impact the packaging and food industries, as food is a major user of packaging.

Negotiators from both sides have agreed on specific reduction targets for packaging waste by 2030, 2035, and 2040. They urge industries, EU countries, and consumers to participate in reducing overpackaging. Certain single-use packaging types will be banned by 2030, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, individual bags of spices and sugar, and small hygiene packages.

The Finnish food industry is concerned about the new legislation causing uncertainty and requiring new investments. The industry believes that significant changes will be needed in how food is packaged, as well as adjustments to production lines. However, there will be a reuse target for beverage packaging, with specific exemptions for products like milk, wine, and spirits. This means that distributors will need to offer reusable packaging options to consumers by 2030.

The agreement reached by negotiators must still be approved by the Council of Member States and the European Parliament before it becomes law. However, some concerns have been raised about potential changes to Finland’s bottle return system due to compliance with the new legislation. The Finnish industry estimates that compliance with the new legislation will require hundreds of millions of euros in investments, impacting the industry’s research and development budgets.

Some advocacy organizations believe that certain exemptions should be made for fresh food packaging to ensure public health and food safety. They also suggest longer transition periods for recyclability requirements. Overall, the new packaging waste regulation has sparked discussions and concerns among various stakeholders within the industry.

In summary, this preliminary agreement reached between Europe’s lawmakers marks a step towards reducing plastic waste in our environment while also setting binding targets for industries to achieve their goals by 2030.

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