Packaging and packaging waste: resource efficiency. Circular economy package  
2015/0276(COD) - 18/04/2018  

The European Parliament adopted by 533 votes to 37, with 57 abstentions, a legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 94/62 / EC on packaging and packaging waste.

The issue had been referred back to the committee responsible for interinstitutional negotiations at the meeting of 14.3.2017.

The European Parliament’s position adopted at first reading under the ordinary legislative procedure has modified the Commission proposal as follows:

Objective: the revised Directive on packaging and packaging waste shall include measures aimed at the prevention of packaging waste as a first priority and, as other fundamental principles, the increase in the reuse of packaging, recycling and other forms of recovery of packaging waste and thus the reduction of the final disposal of this waste in order to contribute to the transition towards a circular economy.

Prevention: the Directive would oblige Member States to take measures to prevent the production of packaging waste and to reduce the impact of packaging on the environment.

The application of the waste hierarchy shall be encouraged by Member States through incentives, including economic instruments and other measures. Extended producer responsibility rules in Directive 2008/98/EC shall apply to extended producer responsibility schemes in the packaging sector.

Reuse: Member States shall take measures to encourage the increase in the share of reusable packaging placed on the market and of systems to reuse packaging in an environmentally sound manner, without compromising food hygiene or the safety of consumers. Such measures may include, inter alia:

  • the use of deposit-return schemes;
  • the setting of qualitative or quantitative targets;
  • the use of economic incentives;
  • the setting up of a minimum percentage of reusable packaging placed on the market every year for each packaging stream.

Recovery and recycling:

  • by 31 December 2025, at least 65% (by weight) of all packaging waste generated shall be recycled. This share should increase to 70% by 31 December 2030 at the latest;
  • separate targets have been set for specific packaging materials. By 2030, the targets shall be 55% by weight for plastics; 30% for wood; 80% for ferrous metals; 60% for aluminium; 75% for glass and 85% for paper and cardboard.

A Member State may extend the deadlines for achieving the targets by up to 5 years. To benefit from this derogation, it should present an implementation plan evaluated by the Commission.

  • The calculation of recycling targets shall be based on the weight of packaging waste which enters recycling. As a general rule, the actual measurement of the weight of packaging waste counted as recycled shall be at the point where packaging waste enters the recycling operation. Nevertheless, in order to limit administrative burdens, Member States should, under strict conditions and by way of derogation from the general rule, be allowed to establish the weight of packaging waste recycled on the basis of measuring the output of any sorting operation.

Return, collection and recovery systems: Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that systems are set up to provide for:

  • the return and/or collection of used packaging and/or packaging waste from the consumer, other final user, or from the waste stream in order to channel it to the most appropriate waste management alternatives;
  • the reuse or recovery including recycling of the packaging and/or packaging waste collected.

Those systems shall be open to the participation of the economic operators of the sectors concerned and to the participation of the competent public authorities. They shall also apply to imported products under non-discriminatory conditions, including the detailed arrangements and any tariffs imposed for access to the systems, and shall be designed so as to avoid barriers to trade or distortions of competition.

Essential requirements: by 31 December 2020 at the latest, the Commission should examine the possibility of strengthening the essential requirements to, inter alia, improve design for re-use and promote high quality recycling, as well as to strengthen enforcement. To that end, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council, accompanied, if appropriate, by a legislative proposal