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On 30 November 2022 the European Commission announced a draft Regulation on Packaging and Packaging Waste. The proposal will introduce various requirements for all types of packages and will replace the current Directive 94/62/EC. Public consultation will be held until 7 March 2023. The deadline for comments may be extended, as currently the draft is not available in all EU languages.
A fitness check in 2014 and an impact assessment in 2020 identified various failures of the current Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive 94/62/EC. To address all the weaknesses, the European Commission proposes replacing the directive with a new regulation that will ensure more effective harmonization for packages at the EU level.
The draft will provide requirements for the entire life cycle of packaging, ending thus the existing disparities between different national legislation. However, EU member states may maintain specific national requirements that do not impede the free circulation of packages produced in other member states.
The proposed regulation maintains the compositional requirements related to the presence of lead, cadmium, mercury, and hexavalent chromium. However, it also aligns package manufacturing with the EU Chemicals Sustainability Strategy by minimizing the presence of substances of concern.
Certain packages will need to gradually comply with new sustainability requirements, and thus be recyclable, compostable, reusable, or contain recycled material. In addition, packaging should be minimized by complying with certain volume or dimension requirements.
New labeling requirements are also announced in Article 11, which stipulates that packaging should bear information about the material composition, recycled content, and reusability of the product. The European Commission is supposed to enact delegated acts governing the labeling elements. According to the text, any other labeling elements that may be misleading for the consumer will be banned.
The proposed Article 22 will prohibit certain single-use packages from being placed on the market. An illustrative list of the packages concerned may be found in the draft Annex V. For example, the list includes the following types of packaging:
- Single-use grouped plastic packaging: collation films or shrink wrap
- Packaging for less than 1.5 kg of fresh fruit and vegetables: nets, bags, trays, containers
- Certain packaging for foods, beverages, and condiments in the HORECA sector
- Hotel miniature packaging: shampoo/lotion bottles, soap sachets
To ensure enforcement of the new requirements, the text emphasizes extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes, new registration requirements, and communication among the supply chain.
If adopted, the new regulation will impact all industries and especially producers of packaging and packaging materials.
The text will be submitted to the EU Parliament and the Council, which need to agree on the proposed text. There is no information when the draft will be adopted or published in the Official Journal. The text will become effective one year later, but a complex enforcement scheme will apply for specific requirements through 2024, 2030, and 2040.
Stakeholders may submit comments via the EU Commission’s Have Your Say portal until 7 March 2023. The deadline may be extended, as currently the draft is not available in all EU languages.