Packaging Circularity: Progress and Setback

EP plenary vote on PPWR advances circularity, but fails to correct priority access and using bio-based plastics in recycled content targets. Today, the European Parliament adopted its position on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), marking progress in packaging circularity, but also marking a setback.

EuRIC welcomes the adoption of Amendment 435, focusing on the certification of recycled content, which marks a crucial victory for the environment and the competitiveness of European recyclers. This amendment combats counterfeit recycled content and greenwashing in the EU market, ensuring a level playing. EuRIC now urges the Council to join this momentum. EuRIC also supports the Parliament’s focus emphasis on ensuring that all packaging is recyclable through strict criteria and the introduction of a 90% separate collection target for all packaging materials.

We also welcome the plenary’s call for banning intentionally added PFASs, (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) and Bisphenol A in food contact packaging, and reiterate our position that the PPWR’s restriction of intentionally added PFAS should not affect the REACH process outcomes.

However, the endorsement of AM 138, which allows bio-based plastic feedstock to count towards up to 50% of recycled content targets, undermines the effectiveness of recycling efforts and favours petroleum-based plastics. We strongly urge the Council to clearly separate these two categories and provide legal clarity to maintain the integrity of recycled content targets.

EuRIC is disappointed with the approval of priority access for certain producers to recycled materials (AMs 102, 266), which we regard as an intervention in free market principles. This approach risks undermining the recycling market by favouring larger producers and impacting small and medium-sized enterprises adversely. We count on the Council to overturn the Parliament’s approach and foster a regulatory framework which allows the recycling industry to invest in capacity-building and innovation to recycle plastics in the EU.

EuRIC remains committed to collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure that the PPWR fully supports a sustainable, effective, and fair recycling ecosystem in the EU.

Source: EuRIC (Brussels, November 22, 2023)