Agreement reached on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation in the EU.

The existing European Union (EU) Packaging and Packaging waste Directive 94/62/EC was established in 1994 with the goal of harmonising national measures across EU member states for packaging waste and improve the environmental quality. This Directive will be repealed by the new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation. Back in March the council presidency and the European Parliament’s (EP) representative reached a provisional political agreement on a proposal for the new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation.

This regulation’s main objective is to reduce packaging waste in the EU, focusing on improving recyclability, increased recycled content and grow reusable packaging systems. While the deal is still subject to changes following the upcoming negotiations, the following statements have been declared:

  1. Recyclability of packaging:
    By 2030, the agreement states that all packaging placed on the EU market must be recyclable and fulfil the agreed recyclability criteria (to be defined through secondary legislation).

    By 2029, member states are expected to have implemented Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) to achieve 90% collection rates for single-use plastic bottles and metal beverage containers.

  2. Recycled content in plastic packaging: 
    Agreed targets for minimum recycled content in plastic packaging are set to be maintained for 2030 and 2040. With the exemption of compostable packaging and packaging with plastic content less than 5% of overall weight. The commission will look to assess the state of technological development of bio-based plastic packaging 3 years after this target has been implemented.

    Strengthened requirements for substances in packaging being placed into food contact circumstances and thresholds for polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PDASs).

  3. Reduction of unnecessary packaging: 
    The new legislation aims to reduce unnecessary packaging, with packaging reduction targets set at a 5% reduction by 2030, 10% by 2035, and 15% by 2040. In addition, a maximum empty space ratio of 50% is to be imposed on grouped, transport and e-commerce packaging. 

    Manufacturers and importers will need to ensure that the weight and volume of packaging are minimised, except for specific designs that require protective packaging.

  4. Reuse targets for packaging:
    The negotiation sets binding reuse targets for 2030 and suggested targets for 2040, with specific targets for reusable packaging for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. It is worth noting that all cardboard boxes are exempted from these targets. The specific targets vary depending on the type of packaging and include targets for beverages, transport, sales packaging, and grouped packaging.

What’s next?

The co-legislators are set to vote on an agreement that will then be formally approved by the EP Plenary and the Council. This will complete the legislative process before the EP elections. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The European Commission has not yet supported the provisional agreement and may decide not to do so due to provisions on imported recycled plastics. Without its support, the Council will need to vote unanimously.
  • The main requests from Italy have been included in the provisional agreement, but some other member states may still object to the text due to the newest exemptions. 

When the text of the agreement becomes public, more information will be provided, including detailed briefings

Resources used:

Packaging: Council and Parliament strike a deal to make packaging more sustainable and reduce packaging waste in the EU - Consilium ( 

Deal on new rules for more sustainable packaging in the EU | News | European Parliament (