MEPs see the complexity of packaging and adopt a pragmatic negotiating position

Published: 22/11/2023

Today, the European Parliament’s Plenary session adopted their final negotiating position on the Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation, which will drive Europe’s circular packaging efforts for the next decade. The vote rightly recognises the complementarity between recycling and reuse solutions and introduces important provisions to safeguard food and consumer safety. The time is now for the Council to rally behind the Parliament’s approach and drive sustainable change forward.

Dirk Jacobs, Director General of FoodDrinkEurope, said: “The text of the Parliament maintains the environmental ambition, as necessary to address the emergency of increasing packaging waste. At the same time, it acknowledges the complexity of adopting reusable packaging for food and drink, for example by granting exemptions when needed to ensure food and consumer safety.

With today’s Report, all the efforts done by EU countries on recycling and by economic operators on recyclable packaging are not in vain thanks to a proposed mechanism establishing the complementarity between recycling and reuse. We’d hoped MEPs would also champion Europe’s most valuable asset, the Single Market, but instead they still allow higher reuse targets to be set by individual Member States. This goes against a harmonised approach pursued by the Regulation.

Regrettably, the issue of the feasibility of the recycled content targets remains unresolved, given that MEPs rejected again the possibility of reviewing them before the 2030 deadline. At present, we do not know whether there will be enough recycled material available on the market and at what price, so a chance to review the recycled content target before the first deadline would have been sensible.

We now await the Council’s General Approach, hoping that Member States will also help steer a Regulation fit for the future. That means enabling an effective transition towards greater packaging circularity while reflecting the complex industrial reality, guaranteeing products safety and maintaining free flow of packaging material and packaged goods in the EU.”