European Parliament: Packaging Waste is No More

Currently, the goal of the EU is to reduce citizens’ waste by 5 % by 2030 as in the past 10 years, Europeans have produced 25 % more waste and were on track to do another 19 % by 2030. However, new laws that will be implemented after 2030 will hopefully continue to add reduction to waste as fruits and vegetables will not be allowed to be in single-use plastic, luggage cannot be shrink-wrapped at the airport, and plastic sauce cachets will also become banned.

The future of reducing packaging waste continues to move in a positive direction as negotiators also agreed on reducing the empty space of online packages by 50 %, and ban “forever chemicals” such as polyfluorinated alkyl substances. Also, the EU will apply re-use targets to certain items such as aiming for 10 % of take-away packaging and for drinks containers to become reusable. Finally, mini bottles containing toiletries will be banned.

However, while it is a step in the right direction, more can still be done as the law has been weakened by the European Parliament due to industrial lobbying and the law is still at threat of being shut down due to a potential commission veto. There is also a severe loophole continuing that would allow majority of products still be made of plastic as long as 5 % of the whole product is made from another product.

The Environmental Bureau believes that while the Green Deal can push through the finish line in the end, we also believe each country’s approach on tackling environmental issues will need to be different depending on the country. If you want to become more involved, consider doing the following before March 4th:

  • Keep reuse targets for 2030 and 2040 for takeaway packaging and beverage bottles sold in supermarkets without unnecessary derogations.
  • Ban BPA and PFAS from food contact packaging and allow for restrictions on chemicals when there is an unacceptable risk to health and environment.
  • Ban of single-use packaging for customers consuming in restaurants, cafés, bars (tableware, condiments, etc.) 

Author: Liam McCarthy

EURACTIV, 5.3.2024

European Parliament News, 4.3.2024