28 November 2023

PPWR Uwrapped: EU’s Packaging Transformation

In November 2022, the European Commission launched the proposed revision of the EU legislation on Packaging and Packaging Waste. This proposal seeks to update the current 1994 framework.
It tackles the pressing issue of aligning different regulations among member states. These differing rules have caused major hurdles within the packaging market, hindering trade and distorting fair competition.

What is the PPWR ?

The proposed Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) in the European Union aims to address the significant environmental impact of packaging waste while promoting a circular economy. 

Here’s a summary of its key points:

Packaging Waste Reduction:

The PPWR aims to decrease packaging waste by 15% per Member State by 2040. This involves various strategies: limiting overpackaging, promoting reusable options, banning specific single-use packaging (e.g., for food, beverages, hotel toiletries), and standardizing packaging formats.

Boost Recycling efforts:

The regulation seeks to make all packaging on the EU market recyclable by 2030 in an economically viable way. This includes mandatory recycled content in plastic packaging, deposit return systems for plastic bottles and aluminum cans, and clear labeling for proper waste sorting.

Transition to Sustainable Plastics:

The PPWR provides clarity on biobased, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, ensuring sustainable sourcing of biomass for bioplastics, caution in using biodegradable plastics to prevent littering, and specifying conditions for industrially compostable plastics in limited applications.

Environmental Impact and Benefits:

By 2030, we expect the proposed measures to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from packaging and lower water usage. And, it will save €6.4 billion in environmental damage costs and create jobs, particularly in the reuse industry.

The regulatory efforts in the EU are a response to the escalating packaging waste issue. With the purpose to strike a balance between the necessity of packaging and environmental considerations. Emergence of biobased and compostable plastics aligns with these initiatives. Precise guidelines verify their positive environmental impact and prevent misleading claims.

Furthermore, the PPWR aims to diminish packaging waste, promote recycling, and offer guidelines for sustainable plastics usage. These efforts are in line with the Circular Economy Action Plan of the European Green Deal, fulfilling public demand for eco-friendly products

Navigating the Current Landscape: A Status Update on PPWR

The proposed Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) has gained significant attention. Due to its potential impacts on the economy, businesses, and consumers across Europe. This is when The Together for Sustainable Packaging alliance comes into the picture, representing various sectors like hotels and restaurants, launched amidst initial discussions. While of course supporting the EU’s Green Deal goals, the alliance is concerned about the unintended consequences of the PPWR legislation.

On November 22, 2023, there was a recent discussion regarding the PPWR. The discussion went as follows: the European Parliament’s recent decision on the EU Packaging Regulation (PPWR) leaned heavily towards measures targeting plastic packaging, emphasizing bans and quotas for its reduction.

The debate showcased opposing views, with concerns raised about the potential impact on paper and cardboard packaging. Notably, there was a lack of consensus on material-neutral packaging rules, with a majority favoring a focus on plastic waste reduction. Key decisions included adoption of reduction targets for plastic packaging, exemptions for recycled content quotas, and limitations on re-use quotas primarily for plastic materials (find all amendments related to the PPWR here).

The Council aims to establish unity among Member States by December 18, 2023, followed by pursuing an agreement between Parliament and the Council by February 2024. Anticipate ongoing negotiations addressing disparities between bodies and potential amendments, with further updates on the regulation’s progress. Rest assured, we’ll keep you informed!

Interlinking Science and Regulation: The Role of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Scientific studies, like the 2020 report from the European Paper Packaging Alliance (EPPA), emphasize the environmental advantages of paper-based packaging over plastic and glass. This life cycle assessment (LCA) examined the carbon footprint of packaging materials and revealed paper’s lower impact on climate change, water use and fossil fuel depletion.

These findings hold relevance for the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) in the EU, aiming to curtail packaging waste. 

Linking scientific assessments, such as LCAs, with regulations like the PPWR becomes crucial. These robust studies offer valuable insights into packaging’s environmental impacts, aiding policymakers in formulating more informed and impactful regulations.

At Pilario, our LCA Packaging solution revolutionizes sustainable packaging decisions. With our LCA solution, you gain the power to compare two packaging scenarios effortlessly. Our pre-designed models provide a hassle-free approach, no initial investments required, just quick first assessments/results.

With Pilario you can get in a few simple steps, you input specifications to receive a rapid assessment. Our pre-default values and validated LCA datasets enable swift evaluations. This allows you to swiftly grasp environmental impacts while leaving room for customization. Later, you can fine-tune these default values to accurately reflect specific scenarios, ensuring tailored and precise assessments.

Empower your packaging decisions with Pilario’s Instant LCA Packaging solution. Start your journey towards sustainable packaging by leveraging our user-friendly, data-driven solution today.
Book a meeting with one of our sustainability experts today!