The fight against packaging waste: new rules for environmental protection

Less unnecessary packaging and waste


Parliament adopted its position on new EU rules on packaging on Wednesday to tackle ever-increasing waste and promote reuse and recycling.

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MEPs approved the report, which is Parliament's mandate for negotiations with EU governments, by 426 votes to 125 with 74 abstentions.

Less packaging, restriction of certain types and a ban on the use of "perpetual chemicals"

MEPs advocate comprehensive targets for reducing packaging - 5% by 2030, 10% by 2035 and 15% by 2040. The reduction targets for plastic packaging in particular should be even more ambitious: 10% by 2030, 15% by 2035 and 20% by 2040.

MEPs want to ban the sale of very lightweight plastic carrier bags (less than 15 microns) unless they are required for hygiene reasons or are used as primary packaging for loose food to prevent food waste. They also propose to severely restrict the use of certain single-use packaging, such as miniature hotel packaging for toiletries and shrink wrap for suitcases in airports.

To prevent damage to health, MEPs are calling for a ban on the use of so-called "forever chemicals" (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances or PFAS) and bisphenol A in packaging that comes into contact with food.

Promoting reuse and refill options for consumers

MEPs want to clarify the requirements for the reuse and refilling of packaging. Final distributors of drinks and takeaway food in the food service sector, such as hotels, restaurants and cafés, should allow customers to use their own containers for takeaway food and drinks.

Better collection and recycling of packaging waste

Under the new rules, all packaging must be recyclable and meet strict criteria set out in secondary legislation. Certain temporary exemptions are foreseen, for example for food packaging made of wood and wax.

MEPs want EU countries to ensure that 90% of the materials contained in packaging (plastic, wood, ferrous metals, aluminum, glass, paper and cardboard) are collected separately by 2029.


Rapporteur Frédérique Ries (Renew, BE) said: "Parliament has sent a clear signal today: We need a complete overhaul of the EU market for packaging and packaging waste. This legislation is not only crucial for our competitiveness and innovation in Europe, but it also ensures that our environmental goals go hand in hand with industrial reality. We are committed to an effective policy of reuse and recycling. In this way, we guarantee that packaging is safe for consumers. An important step here is the ban on harmful chemicals, especially PFAS, in food packaging."

Next steps

The Parliament is ready to start discussions with EU countries on the final form of the law once the Council has adopted its position.

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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