EUBP’s response on the proposal for rules on packaging and packaging waste
In its efforts to tackle the challenges related to waste, overpackaging, and sustainable production, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) on 30 November 2022. The bioplastics industry appreciates the Commission’s acknowledgement of the important role of compostable plastic packaging in the proposed packaging rules in reaching the ambitious waste and climate targets. However, stronger support for the use of biobased feedstock is still missing. A full shift to biobased products will be necessary for Europe to reduce its dependency on fossil resources and achieve its ambitious climate and circularity goals.
Proposed partial ban on compostable plastic packaging eventually lifted
An initially proposed partial ban on compostable plastic packaging was eventually lifted and compostable packaging solutions will continue to be allowed to be marketed and recycled in the EU. The PPWR proposal recognises the contributions of compostable plastics in increasing the volumes and quality of separately collected biowaste and reducing the contamination of (organic) waste streams. By making several packaging applications mandatory to be compostable in industrial composting facilities, including tea bags, filter coffee pods and pads, fruit stickers, and very lightweight plastic carrier bags, it is taking a first step in the right direction. The use of compostable plastics for other packaging is still possible if it allows material recycling.
Proposal for packaging rules still needs improvement
Yet, the proposal for new packaging rules still needs improvement. Notably, the PPWR falls short on promoting biobased content equally to recycled content through targets. This would help to secure feedstock availability, to achieve recycled content targets, and to meet the strict requirements for contact-sensitive materials. Prioritising recycled content and mechanical recycling, according to the industry, will not be enough to replace the EU’s dependence on fossil resources and to stop the current trend of over-packaging and excessive waste in the EU.
During the upcoming ordinary legislative procedure, EU policymakers should show stronger ambition and clear vision in their political support to biobased and compostable plastics by improving and further clarifying the PPWR proposal with the aim to decisively support innovation in the sector of sustainable materials and packaging solutions, ensuring that investments, jobs, and innovation remain in Europe.
EUBP will be assessing the proposal in detail and is looking forward to engaging with policymakers in the upcoming process to finalise and shape Europe’s new waste legislation.
To receive more detailed information on the PPWD revision and European Bioplastics’ view on the individual elements, please read our papers: