legislation

New Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) endorsed by the European Parliament

The European Parliament endorsed the new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) on 24 April 2024. The next step is for the EU Council of Ministers to formally adopt the agreement. It is very much likely that this will happen after the European Parliament elections which will take place at the beginning of June 2024.

Based on the currently available text, we have summarized some of the most important PPWR requirements for flexible tube producers.

Article 5 lays down that packaging placed on the market shall be so manufactured that the presence and concentration of substances of concern as constituents of the packaging material or of any of the packaging components is minimized. In this context specific concentration levels of lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium as well as PFAS resulting from substances present in packaging or packaging components are mentioned. Compliance with these requirements shall be demonstrated in the technical documentation drawn up in accordance with Annex VII of the PPWR.

According to Article 6, the manufacturer shall assess the recyclability of packaging which shall be expressed in the recyclability performance grades A (higher or equal to 95%), B (higher or equal to 80%) or C (higher or equal to 70%). By 1 January 2030, packaging shall not be placed on the market unless it is recyclable within grades A, B or C. When a packaging unit’s recyclability performance grade is below 70%, it is considered to be non-compliant with the recyclability performance grades and therefore the packaging will be considered technically non-recyclable.

Design for recycling criteria and recyclability performance grades will be developed by the EU Commission in so-called delegated acts on the basis of the predominant packaging material. Where a unit of packaging includes separate components, the assessment of compliance with the design for recycling requirements and with the at scale recyclability requirements shall be carried out separately for each separate component. All components of a unit of packaging shall be compatible with the established collection, sorting and recycling processes proven in an operational environment and shall not hinder the recyclability of the main body of the unit of packaging.

In general, the PPWR is aiming at ‘high-quality recycling’ meaning any recycling process which produces recycled materials that are of equivalent quality to the original materials and are used as a substitute to primary raw materials for packaging or other applications where the quality of the recycled material is retained.

In Article 7 the requirements for minimum recycled content in plastic packaging are laid down. By 1 January 2030, any plastic part of packaging placed on the market, shall contain the following minimum percentage of recycled content recovered from post-consumer plastic waste, per packaging type and format, calculated as an average per manufacturing plant and year:

(a) 30 % for contact sensitive packaging, except single use beverage bottles, made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as the major component;

(b) 10 % for contact sensitive packaging made from plastic materials other than PET, except single use plastic beverage bottles;

(c) 30 % for single use plastic beverage bottles;

(d) 35 % for plastic packaging other than those referred to in points (a), (b) and (c).

By 1 January 2040, these rates increase as follows:

(a) 50 % for contact sensitive packaging, except single use beverage bottles, made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as the major component;

(b) 25% for contact sensitive packaging made from plastic materials other than PET.

(c) 65 % for single use plastic beverage bottles;

(d) 65 % for plastic packaging other than those referred to in points (a) and (b).

With regard to packaging minimization Article 10 says that by 1 January 2030, the manufacturer or importer shall ensure that the packaging placed on the market is designed so that its weight and volume is reduced to the minimum necessary for ensuring its functionality taking account of the shape and material that the packaging is made of. The Commission shall request the European standardisation organisations, as appropriate, to prepare or update harmonised standards laying down the methodology for the calculation and measurement of compliance with the requirements concerning packaging minimization. Compliance with these requirements shall be demonstrated in the manufacturer’s technical documentation.

Concerning environmental claims on packaging, Article 14 stipulates that they are made only in relation to packaging properties exceeding the applicable minimum requirements set out in the PPWR and that they specify whether they relate to the packaging unit, part of the packaging unit or to all packaging placed on the market by the producer.

In Article 16 information obligations of suppliers of packaging or packaging materials are laid down. Any supplier of packaging or packaging materials shall provide the manufacturer with all the information and documentation necessary for the manufacturer to demonstrate the conformity of the packaging and the packaging materials according to Article 34, including technical documentation.

The regulation will also introduce restrictions on a number of specific packaging formats in Article 25. From 1 January 2030, economic operators shall not place on the market packaging in the formats and for the purposes listed in Annex V. This includes, for example:

  • Single use plastic packaging for foods and beverages filled and consumed within the premises in the hotel, restaurant and catering (HORECA) sector
  • Single use plastic packaging in the HORECA sector, containing individual portions or servings
  • Single use packaging for cosmetics, hygiene and toiletry products for the use in the accommodation sector

Article 52 fixes the recycling targets for different packaging materials. In this context Member States shall take the necessary measures to attain the following recycling targets as far as all packaging and specifically plastic and aluminium packaging are concerned:

By 31 December 2025, a minimum of 65 % by weight of all packaging waste generated and the following minimum percentages by weight of the following specific materials contained in packaging waste generated:

  • 50 % of plastic;
  • 50 % of aluminium;

By 31 December 2030, a minimum of 70 % by weight of all packaging waste generated and the following minimum percentages by weight of the following specific materials contained in packaging waste generated:

  • 55 % of plastic;
  • 60 % of aluminium;

Concerning the rules on the calculation of the attainment of the recycling targets, Article 53 stipulates that composite packaging and other packaging composed of more than one material shall be calculated and reported per material contained in the packaging. Member States may derogate from this requirement where a given material constitutes an insignificant part of the packaging unit, and in no case more than 5 % of the total mass of the packaging unit.

The PPWR shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and apply from 18 months from the date of entry into force. It shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all EU Member States.