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PPWR – 4 letters to change the packaging market sustainably

This spring 2024, the time has come and the Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation, the PPWR, is coming closer to becoming reality.

The PPWR. What is it about? As the document comprises several hundred pages, here’s a brief overview of the most relevant points for us, as well as further links for you to deepen your knowledge. If you would like to know more in a personal call or meeting, please feel free to contact us via the contact from.

Packaging production and packaging waste management is an economically complex and important sector, generating a total turnover of €370 billion in the EU*.

The PPWR will drastically change the EU packaging market and by that impacts almost all packaging products, business models and also internal operations. The main targets cover consumer but also B-to-B and transport packaging.

European Member State Ambassadors agreed on a final version of the PPWR with the aim to make packaging more sustainable, reduce packaging waste in the EU, and to harmonize the different national regulations for packaging

Important elements of the Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) comprise:

Sustainability requirements and recycled content in packaging:

The PPWR proposes to increase the recycled content of plastic packaging. By 2030 targets for minimum recycled content in plastic packaging will take effect and rise by 2040. Some critical applications like packaging for baby food or for pharma are exempted from the recycled content requirement.

By way of example “contact sensitive” packaging (which includes food packaging), economic operators have to provide evidence for recycled content required to be recovered from post-consumer waste are set out as follows:

Table 1: Minimum content of post-consumer recyclates for plastic part in packaging per economic  operator/packaging-type & -format/site/year.

Packaging Minimization and empty space:

The PPWR require all packaging be reduced to the minimum necessary for ensuring its functionality.

Re-use targets and re-fill targets:

According to the PPWR, business operators making use of reusable packaging would be obliged to participate in one or more systems for re-use that meet specific requirements. By 2030 distributors with a sales area of more than 400m2 shall dedicate 10% of that sales area to refill stations for both food and non-food products.

Declaration of Conformity and Technical Documentation:

The manufacturer of the packaging is responsible to carry out a conformity assessment, draw up a Declaration of Conformity, and maintain this together with the technical documentation specified in the PPWR on file for 10 years after the packaging is placed on the market. Packaging material suppliers are obliged to provide manufacturers with all necessary information for DOCs.

Deposit return systems (DRS):

Under the new rules, by 2029, member states must ensure the separate collection of at least 90% per annum of single-use plastic bottles and metal beverage containers.

Restrictions on certain packaging formats:

On a related note, the PPWR would ban several types of single-use packaging

Compostable packaging:

The PPWR foresees that tea and coffee bags, sticky labels for fruits and vegetables, and very lightweight plastic carrier bags shall be compostable in industrially controlled conditions. All other packaging shall be recyclable.

Recyclability of packaging formats:

By 1 January 2030 all packaging shall be technically recyclable and need to comply with design for recycling criteria. By 1 January 2035 recyclable packaging shall comply with recyclability at scale requirements. That means 55% of the packaging type placed on the market must be physically recycled.

PPWR bans as of January 1st 2030:
  • Bans of single-use plastic packaging for fruit and vegetables, single use plastic packaging for food and beverages + condiments/sauces in the HORECA sector, accommodation miniature packaging for toiletry products, shrink-wrap for suitcases in airports, and very lightweight plastic bags.
  • 2026 Introduction of restriction on the placing on the market of food contact packaging containing per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs) and Bisphenols (BPAs) above certain thresholds.

The PPWR proposal could serve as a catalyst to transform the plastics packaging industry by ensuring recyclability, increasing the uptake of circular plastics and kick-starting reuse in many packaging applications. To this end, the legislation will change the EU packaging market with sure and will bring also the new perspectives and possibilities for the whole industry.

If you would like to hear more about packaging solutions made from PE, PP and paper and that are Designed for Recycling, let’s get in touch! Either hit the contact button below or write us at contact@adapa-group.com.

Links:                                                                 

*Packaging: Council and Parliament strike a deal to make packaging more sustainable and reduce packaging waste in the EU – Consilium (europa.eu)

EU negotiators reach provisional agreement on PPWR – EUROPEN (europen-packaging.eu)

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