The coming months are important in the process of forming positions regarding the EU’s new packaging and packaging waste regulation both in the Parliament and in the Council. However, the situation is anything but easy since the dossier has become very political, and the debate is heating up.

On the Parliament side, its Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee already formed its position during the summer and took a very constructive and rational approach regarding the most challenging issues in the proposal such as the reuse (Art. 26), bans (Art. 22) as well as the use of recycled content (Art. 7). From the forest industry point of view, this is very important because ITRE shares competence with the Committee on Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety (ENVI) on Articles 22 and 26 of the proposal. The leading ENVI Committee is yet to form its position but based on the information from the discussions held this far, improvement has been made in some fronts, but setbacks can be expected elsewhere. ENVI Committee has also postponed the vote to the latter part of October, which tells its own story of the situation. Similarly, the vote in the plenary has been postponed to the 20th of November 2023, for now.  

On the Council side, the file also seems to divide member states regarding the relevant items for our industry. For example, proposals to remove existing exemptions for cardboard in some reuse paragraphs has been seen. In addition, it seems that the Council is sticking to the ban list, which includes for example single-use packaging used in restaurants. The Council is also discussing how if at all, the bio-based plastics should be seen in the context of recycled content requirements. Reuse targets for different sectors and packaging are also facing both support and resistance. So, it is to be seen if the ambitious timeline set by the Spanish presidency to have Council’s general approach approved by Christmas will be met. The forest industry is working hard to make the proposal more feasible, realistic, and environmentally sound in terms of right balance between reusable and recyclable packaging by emphasizing the role of renewable and recyclable fiber-based packaging solutions where best fit for purpose.