Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive

At a glance

The EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) is the centerpiece of EU legislation on packaging and packaging waste. The twin objectives of the Directive are to continuously improve the environmental performance of packaging and to facilitate the correct functioning of the EU Internal Market, thereby protecting the free circulation of packaging and packaged goods in all Member States.

The Directive sets out recycling targets of used packaging for EU Member States. It also contains the Essential Requirements for packaging that aim to reduce packaging waste and to put forth design requirements that cater to a wide range of packaging materials and packaged goods. Packaging that meets these requirements is guaranteed free circulation in the EU.

The revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive

The ambitious political goals enshrined in the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan set the directions of travel for the review of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD). The scope of the review has been expanded beyond the revision of the Essential Requirements to include also measures to reduce (over)packaging and packaging waste alongside measures to improve packaging design for reuse and recycling and to drive the uptake of recycled content.

EUROPEN believes that the review of the PPWD can represent a real milestone in the process of moving towards a sustainable packaging supply chain in Europe. Our members have already embarked on an innovation journey to ensure a sustainable future for packaging. They are developing optimal packaging solutions preventing resource depletion, product and food waste and packaging entering the environment. They are also driving the uptake of innovative packaging design for increased reuse and recycling and contributing to the development of new sorting, collection and recycling technologies.

For the PPWD review to be successful, the ambitious policy goals must be supported by robust legislation, providing a future-proof regulatory framework driving investment in innovation and ensuring stronger enforcement and harmonisation across the EU.

Our position

The regulatory framework must be fit for purpose to effectively prevent packaging from becoming waste and to boost recyclable and reusable solutions while preserving packaging functionalities.

EUROPEN has put forward four key principles for the review of the PPWD:

  • Recognise the purpose of packaging

The Essential Requirements for packaging must be strengthened, harmonised and properly enforced across the EU while ensuring that packaging functionalities are not undermined.

  • Ensure coherence with the EU environmental and climate objectives

Pursuing the European Green Deal’s objectives requires embracing a life-cycle approach to circularity, where climate and environmental performance is assessed throughout the entire life-cycle of packaging and product.

  • Define future-proof legislation to support innovation

Future targets, definitions and design requirements need to provide sufficient visibility to drive investments into new packaging solutions, reuse schemes and waste management technologies.

  • Safeguard the integrity of the Single Market for packaging and packaged goods

The review must address barriers to the free flow of packaging and packaged goods. Key provisions must be clearly defined for maximum harmonisation and enforcement mechanisms must be strengthened to oversee their effective implementation.