In November 2022, the European Commission proposed a revision of the current Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. With this proposal, the European Commission had for objective to harmonise packaging requirements in the EU, by making this legislative instrument a Regulation, and of course, raise the EU’s ambition to reduce the impact of packaging on the environment. The proposal introduces new requirements for packaging (e.g. recyclability and recycled content, new labelling requirements…), new and revised targets as well as other complementary measures, for example on extended producer responsibility (EPR), collection and treatment, etc.
This proposal will impact various parts of the e-commerce sector, from new targets for reusable packaging for e-commerce and transport packaging, new limits for void space in packages to changes to labelling and extended producer responsibility requirements. Ecommerce Europe shares the objective of the European Commission, and we are eager to work with policymakers to build an ambitious and realistic European framework
So far, the draft law is still being discussed in Parliament and in the Council, once these institutions have adopted their negotiating mandate, inter-institutional negotiations will begin before the official adoption. Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius already stressed the importance for co-legislators to reach an agreement ahead of the looming European elections of May 2024.
Council of the EU
In the Council, discussions are ongoing at the technical level. At political level, representatives of the Member States welcomed the Commission’s ambition to reduce packaging waste, but they did express some concerns regarding how much flexibility Member States will be granted to pursue this objective. Member States appear to be divided on certain topics such as reuse, implementation timelines, packaging requirements, etc.
In the parliament, the Environment (ENVI) Committee is leading the work on the file while Industry (ITRE), Internal Market (IMCO) and Agriculture (AGRI) Committees will be giving their opinion. In the ENVI Committee, Rapporteur MEP Frédérique Ries (Renew, Belgium) circulated her draft report on 11 April proposing more than 200 amendments. She suggested, among other things, changes to the proposal on void space for e-commerce packaging, the role of online marketplaces in EPR, or the ambition to reduce the use of plastic packaging. MEPs have until 10 May to suggest further amendments, kickstarting the discussion between the political groups to find agreements.
Ecommerce Europe’s position
Ecommerce Europe has published recently its position paper on the PPWR, and hope to engage further with policy-makers on these key priorities:
- Maintain the current level of ambition for the harmonisation of requirements for packaging in the EU.
- Pursue the ambitious objective to develop a simplified, harmonised, digitalised European system for Extended Producer Responsibility to prevent the creation of further barriers to the Single Market
- Carefully assess the existing challenges and limits encountered by companies when trying to reduce packaging and void-space, to focus on the most efficient and feasible approach,
- When setting and defining ways to reach the proposed targets for reusable packaging, consider the full life-cycle and the environmental impact of such packaging, the feasibility of its roll-out as well as the role of other waste prevention measures.
Download our full position paper here.