The main goal is the avoidance of packaging
The EU Commission has presented the long-awaited first draft for an EU Packaging Regulation (PPWR), which is to transpose the requirements of the previous directive into an EU regulation that is directly applicable in the member states. The aim is to reduce the continuously increasing per capita volume of (disposable) packaging in each member state. Deposit and return systems are recognised as key players in ensuring sustainable material cycles.

A clear statement
With the first draft for an EU packaging regulation presented at the end of November 2022, the EU Commission wants to implement the requirements of the previous directive in an EU regulation that is directly applicable in the member states - for the purpose of more uniform standards and procedures.

In the view of the EU Commission, the goal of reducing the currently continuously increasing per capita packaging volume in each member state by 15 percent by 2040 is to be achieved, among other things, by increasing the share of reused packaging and recyclable materials as well as the use of recycled materials.

The draft EU Packaging Regulation currently provides for targets for all areas of packaging and packaging waste in all member states - including the establishment of national deposit and return systems.

Key measures of the draft EU Packaging Regulation presented in November are:

  • Bans on certain packaging formats depending on the intended use, especially in the area of single-use plastics (Article 22 in conjunction with Annex V of the EU Packaging Regulation from 2030)
  • Phased recyclate use quotas in the plastics sector and, from 2030, financial contributions ("eco-modulated fees") within the framework of extended product responsibility systems (Article 7, Article 40 EU Packaging Regulation)
  • Standardisation of labelling on packaging and labelling of collection containers (Articles 11 and 12 EU Packaging Regulation)
  • Reduction targets for packaging, up to 15% in each member state (Article 38 EU Packaging Regulation, staggered until 2040)
  • Requirements for reusable systems for certain packaging (Article. 24, Annex VI EU Packaging Regulation) as well as reuse and refill quotas (Article 26, Annex II EU Packaging Regulation, staggered from 2030)
  • Strict recycling-oriented ("Design for Recycling") requirements (Article 6 EU Packaging Regulation, staggered from 2030).
  • National registers for packaging producers in all member states (Article 39 EU Packaging Regulation)
  • Requirements for national deposit and return systems for one-way plastic and metal beverage packaging (Article 44 EU Packaging Regulation, from 2029)

The measures set out in the draft will now be discussed in detail by the involved parties. The DPG will also comment on the points relevant to the deposit system in consultation with its shareholders.

DPG in demand as a discussion partner
Since 2006, the shareholders of the DPG - the German Trade Association and the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries - have initiated and successively expanded a network in which more than 1,000 participants and system partners cooperate in a complex market. As the largest economy in the EU, Germany can thus look back on important experiences and successes from almost 20 years of practical experience. Every year, more than 20 billion single-use beverage containers are processed through the DPG System via more than 50,000 Reverse Vending Machines and supplementary Counting Plants. The return rates of more than 98 percent underline the broad consumer acceptance and the ecological success of the system, which thus makes a significant contribution to waste reduction and resource conservation. This is also an interesting practical example for other countries. Not only European interested parties, but also other international delegations such as from South-East Asia and South America have already contacted the DPG in Berlin's Luisenstraße. There, they have had, for example, the functioning of the DPG System, the associated deposit clearing and the technical safety precautions of the system explained to them.

The way ahead
The draft presented by the EU Commission has stimulated an intensive discussion about the future of packaging market regulation. It is to be expected that changes will be made in the further course of the EU legislative process. Adoption of the EU Packaging Regulation is not expected before the end of 2023.

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