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EU to curb packaging pollution through waste reduction, reuse, and recycling

The European Parliament and the EU Council reached an agreement today on a landmark regulation aimed at addressing Europe’s mounting packaging waste crisis. Each year, the average European generates over 188 kilograms of packaging waste, contributing to a significant 20% increase in waste over the past decade.

Our Group, in the European Parliament and during the so-called trilogue negotiations with the member states, has played a pivotal role in pushing against industry lobbying to ensure that the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation maintains its ambition. The S&Ds have successfully advocated for increased reuse to slash waste generated by single-use items in the first place, improved recycling methods, safer packaging for consumers and an overall reduction of unnecessary packaging. This will be key to reaching the overall target of the regulation – 15% less packaging waste by 2040 – and curb the pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and health problems associated with packaging waste.

Delara Burkhardt, S&D MEP and negotiator on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, said:

“In a business-as-usual scenario, we are heading towards an almost 20% increase of packaging waste by 2030, and this is unacceptable. Excessive packaging waste pollutes our environment, contributes to global warming, and harms our health with ‘forever chemicals’ contained in the packaging.


“Despite facing severe opposition from the packaging industry, the S&D Group persevered to secure a majority in support of this crucial regulation. We have successfully obtained a better focus on the promotion of reusable packaging to reduce waste from single-use plastic cups or bags, and expanded recycling options of unavoidable packaging.

“To safeguard people’s health, we have achieved a ban on PFAS – forever chemicals that poison our water and food and overall environment – in the production of packaging that comes into contact with foodstuffs. This is a great victory for the people and the planet.”

The provisional agreement reached today still needs to be confirmed by the European Parliament and the EU Council.


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