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13 May 2024

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3 minutes

From PPWD to PPWR: making packaging materials sustainable becomes less non-committal

You were introduced to the PPWD in an earlier blog. Since 1994, the Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive has been a fixture in our efforts to reduce waste. This package of European measures and obligations aims to reduce the ecological footprint of packaging and packaging waste. 

However, the PPWD proved too non-committal. National authorities were allowed to implement this European directive in their own way. The result was a lack of harmonization among EU member states. That is why there is now an update to this legislation: the PPWD is turning into the PPWR, the Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation. But what does that mean for your organization?

PPWR replaces PPWD: what does it mean for you?

If you are a company dealing with packaging, you are facing a new challenge and opportunity with the introduction of the PPWR. Whereas the PPWD left the implementation to the member states themselves, the PPWR now equalizes regulation across Europe, with a view to achieving concrete results in waste reduction. This requires an effective strategy from your company:

  • Volume and weight reduction: use lighter materials, reduce the amount of packaging material and package products more efficiently.
  • Reusable and recyclable design: focus on designing packaging that can be used multiple times and easily recycled. Choose packaging that encourages reuse and recycling.
  • Design for recycling: packaging should be designed so that it can be recycled without difficulty. This includes using recyclable materials, choosing uniform designs and avoiding harmful substances.
  • Increase recycled materials: Europe wants to increase the proportion of recycled materials in plastic packaging, with the ambitious goal of recycling at least 65% of all plastic packaging by 2030.
  • Improving infrastructure: efforts are underway to improve infrastructure for collecting and sorting packaging.

These changes will give you the right tools to make your operations even more sustainable. 

Economic and environmental progress: a shared responsibility

Beyond concrete targets on production and recycling, more is needed. Let's take a closer look at other important points the PPWR has in mind:

  1. Producers take responsibility: producers are urged to rethink their packaging strategy. Lighter materials, less packaging material and efficiency are the key concepts. Producers must invest in reuse and recycling. But that's not all. They also need to educate consumers on the proper way to dispose of their packaging.
  2. Tackling litter: the European Union is committed to reducing litter. Stricter rules for putting disposable packaging on the market are included in the SUP (see below).
  3. Innovation as a driving force: making the future more sustainable requires creativity and innovation. And that is what Europe wants to encourage. The EU encourages research and development through grants and shares best practices: from smart materials to clever designs.

PPWR: a new vision for packaging

Europe is striving for a better future with the PPWR, aimed at reducing packaging waste. By 2030, it targets a 15% lighter packaging footprint compared to 2019. Special focus is on plastics with a 30% reduction in waste. Reuse and refill, recyclability, increasing recycled material in packaging and reducing litter are the paths to take.

For your company, this may be a short-term investment, but in the long run it satisfies your environmental policy and ensures more efficient use of materials and reduced waste disposal costs.

With PPWR and SUP towards a circular packaging economy

The Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive and the PPWR are two crucial EU regulatory instruments that focus on reducing packaging waste and the environmental impact of plastics. The SUP bans single-use plastics such as straws, while the PPWR imposes requirements on all packaging for reuse and recycling.

Although the SUP and the PPWR have different approaches, they share the same goal of reducing packaging waste, promoting reuse and recycling, and increasing producer responsibility. They are leading the way toward a circular economy.

For your business, the SUP has direct impact through the ban on certain disposable plastic products. The PPWR impacts through its requirements for organizations to meet recycling and reuse targets for packaging materials, and the obligation to report on them. That means your company will have to adapt to these regulations to meet the new packaging sustainability standards.


A waste-free future: here's how to go about it

The numbers don't lie: the amount of plastic packaging waste is rising. Recycling is still too limited feasible and the amount of plastic packaging waste per person has increased by 27% in 10 years. Therefore, strict rules for the packaging industry are needed. The SUP directive has already been in force since 2021. Member states had until 2023 to transpose the directive into their national legislation. The PPWR is not yet in force, but it is expected to come into force in 2024 or 2025.

Navigating the complexities of legislation and reporting requirements can be overwhelming. Milgro understands these challenges and is ready to guide you. SUP and PPWR regulations present both challenges and opportunities. They challenge companies to operate more sustainably and improve their competitive position. By anticipating these new regulations and investing in sustainable practices, companies arm themselves against the future challenges of waste.

As experts in reducing waste, Milgro works with you to ensure that valuable resources do not end up as waste. We strive to minimize waste and find the most appropriate processing methods for the inevitable waste within our extensive network of processors. This allows you to focus on what really matters: your core business.

Want to know more about this legislation and our services? Book an appointment.


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