Despite the ENVI Committee’s adopted position on Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) has improved from its draft version, it still disproportionately favors reusable packaging over recyclable and renewable packaging.

On Tuesday 24 October, the Committee of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) of the European Parliament voted for its final position on the Commission proposal for the new PPWR. Regardless of some improvements made in ENVI’s position, the most important issues remain partly open and unsolved before the next month’s plenary vote.

Finnish Forest Industry calls for a more balanced approach in the PPWR. Renewable and recyclable, fiber-based packaging should be acknowledged as part of the solution to EU’s packaging challenges. The role of fiber-based packaging should hence be recognized in the discussions towards the plenary vote, and recycling and reuse should be complementary in minimizing packaging waste.

Here are some of the voting’s most important issues for the forest industry:

The committee voted on reuse targets for large household appliance packaging ending up splitting it in 2030 and 2040 and lowering it from 90 % to 50 % in 2030. This is an improvement to PPWR’s earlier draft version, but Finnish Forest Industries Federation finds it still problematic and far from reality since fiber-based cardboard is not exempted from the requirement.

In the case of transport packaging, the ENVI Committee remained original cardboard exemption. The timeline was moved from the approval of the regulation to 2030 and the target was slightly lowered from 100 % to 95 % in operators’ intra-industry transports.

For hotel, restaurant, and catering (HORECA) packaging, the ENVI Committee removed the reuse targets for take-away drink and food packaging but kept the banns for single-use packaging inside restaurants with minor exemptions. Removal of reuse targets for the HOERECA sector is a good improvement, but the battle for fiber-based products’ unjustified banns continues.

Regarding the empty space requirements in packaging waste minimization, the ENVI Committee wants to exempt the economic operators using reusable packaging from this requirement. This can be seen as another measure to increase fossil-based plastic consumption in packaging and needs to be brought up in the following negotiations. The recyclability of packaging remains unnoticed.

To point out something positive, the ENVI Committee wants to investigate the possibility of using bio-based plastics as an alternative to recycled content in plastic packaging. The ENVI Committee is also asking the Commission to establish a Packaging Forum that will be consulted to prepare the delegated and implementing acts provided for in this Regulation. We welcome this proposal as well as consulting the European standardization organization in the preparation of these acts.