spiritNEWS June 2023

Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) – which way forward now?

The discussions in the European Parliament and the Council on the ongoing revision of the rules on packaging and packaging waste in the EU are gaining speed – and so is the disagreement amongst policy-makers inside the institutions. Whilst the Commission’s proposal received an overall warm welcome and agreement for cooperation to accelerate the goals and ambitions of the Green Deal, only a few weeks into the negotiations, interests are clashing to a degree which puts a big question mark behind the foreseen agreement in the current political term.

Around 2,700 amendments were tabled on the report of the European Parliament’s ENVI committee alone, reflecting a plethora of interests, concerns and ambitions. One cannot help but wonder how these could possibly be conciliated in the few weeks left before the committee vote in September, factoring in the summer weeks.

Also in Council, rumour has it, the discussions are anything but smooth with some Member States allegedly threatening to form blocking minorities as they do not see the legal instrument of a regulation fit for purpose but rather wish to see the EU’s packaging and packaging waste being dealt with via a directive, as it has been in the past.

However, as national legislative attempts on waste and packaging waste have shown in recent years and months, Europe needs a harmonised regulation to create a functioning Single Market for packaging and packaging waste. Governments attempting to go ahead alone, damage the free movement of goods and risk infringement procedures whilst also putting at risk legislations which truly and effectively tackle the challenges of packaging and packaging waste.

Challenging the choice of the legal instrument now, in 2023, the year marking the 30th anniversary of the Single Market, is difficult to understand. A well-functioning internal market is desperately needed to address packaging and packaging waste today for the future. 

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