The new EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) to replace the already outdated Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) – with the purpose to better prevent the growth of packaging waste and the reduction of the environmental impact of packaging – would, most probably, enter into force and become law in the last quarter of 2024, with its application to begin with a transition period of 18 months.

The decision to switch to a Regulation comes after the uneven and disappointing revision of the PPWD just a couple of years ago when Member States failed to implement it according to its initial purpose, with the Commission now wanting for the new PPWR draft to ensure that all 27 member states implement their obligations simultaneously and in the same way.

According to the provisional agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Council, the PPWR aims to improve the safety and sustainability of food packaging used in the EU, setting packaging reduction targets of 5% by 2030, 10% by 2035, and 15% by 2040. Also, the agreement would ban certain single-use plastic packaging formats — like packaging for foods and beverages filled and consumed in cafés and restaurants, and individual portions (e.g., for condiments, sauces, creamer, sugar etc.) — beginning January 1, 2030. Final distributors of beverages and take-away food will have to offer consumers the option of bringing their own container.

The most important points concerning the new criteria to be considered by the food-packaging industry are:

  • all packaging must be recyclable by 2030, and it must also be effectively recycled by 2035; Binding targets related to cardboard packaging is generally exempted from those requirements.
  • packaging weight and volume to be minimized: The new rules will reduce unnecessary packaging by setting a maximum empty space ratio of 50% in grouped, transport and e-commerce packaging.
  • take-away businesses are required to offer customers the possibility of bringing their own containers to be filled with cold or hot beverages or ready-prepared food, at no additional charge. Additionally, by 2030, take-away activities must endeavor to offer 10% of products in packaging formats suitable for reuse.
  • under the new rules, by 2029, member states must ensure the separate collection of at least 90% per annum of single-use plastic bottles and metal beverage containers. To achieve that target, they are required to set up deposit return systems (DRSs) for those packaging formats.

BFG Packaging looks with interest and embraces the European way of doing business in the future. That is why, BFG already proposes to its diverse customer base 100% recyclable bowls, plates and hinged lid containers made of eco-friendly wood fiber and sugarcane fiber.

To address the packaging weight and volume reduction targets, BFG added to the already diversified offer the customized mini-packing for the natural fiber products that brings together single use packaging products in mini-packs of 2 to 25 products per set. Mini-packing can have personalized labels, any color and shape, packed in exterior carboard boxes (standard or shelf box), making sure the delivery time is short. BFG also keeps in its offer the PP, XPP and XPS catering products, still in demand.

Following the provisional political agreement reached between the Council presidency and European Parliament’s representatives, the text was also approved by representatives of Council member states and the Parliament’s environmental committee. Parliament and Council must formally approve the agreement before the requirements enter into force.