Unboxing the EU’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation Proposal

In November 2022, the European Commission presented a proposal for a Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) with the ambition to reduce packaging waste and manage it more sustainably. The regulation sets a number of targets related to these objectives, including but not limited to setting recycling targets, outlining design criteria for higher packaging recyclability, defining targets for the use of recycled content in plastic packaging, setting targets for reuse and refill, setting waste reduction targets for member states, and mandating the establishment of deposit return systems (DRSs) for beverage containers made out of plastic and metal.

We expect that the introduction of this regulation will change the packaging industry significantly. Some of the impacts and requirements we anticipate are:

- Packaging producers will need to revise their product portfolios and sourcing processes to ensure they are able to comply with the requirements.

- Some substitution between packaging materials can be expected.

- Investment in infrastructure for waste collection and recycling, as well as for the implementation of new systems like DRS, will be needed to match the targets set.

- Market harmonization will be essential for the regulation's success.

The PPWR is still in the proposal stage, so discussions between the European Council, the European Parliament, and EU member states are still ongoing. In these conversations, parties discuss amendments to be made to the proposal. It is expected that the regulatory process will be completed in spring 2024 with the presentation of the final text. Given this timeframe, we estimate that countries will include the regulation in their national laws in the beginning of 2025.