The latest news from the world of Bioplastics

European Parliament Advances Packaging Regulation

8 December 2023

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Embracing Compostable and Biobased Solutions

On 22 November, the European Parliament adopted its negotiating position on the EU Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). Many amendments were voted on and the final report was adopted with 426 votes in favor, 125 against, and 74 abstentions. The debate started with the intervention of Swedish Nils Torvalds, who is responsible for environmental issues in the Renew Group, which you can view online. A summary of the main elements which are interesting for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics follows.

 

PPWR's Article 7: Biobased Plastics Targets and Equivalence Assessment

The European Parliament included a specific measure regarding biobased plastics. Article 7 of the PPWR calls upon the European Commission to develop a report by the end of 2025 assessing the possibility of:

  • introducing a target for the use of bio-based plastic feedstock in packaging;
  • using bio-based plastic feedstock in packaging to meet the 50% of the recycled content targets.

However, as highlighted in its press release by European Bioplastics, the European Parliament is sending mixed signals to the bioplastics sector. This is due to a similar provision being adopted, which requires the development of a separate biobased content target in packaging, yet does not establish an equivalence between biobased and recycled content. 

 

PPWR’s Article 8: Compostable Packaging Measures

Article 8 of the PPWR provides an ensemble of measures for compostable packaging, which are – partially – in line with the Policy Framework for Biobased, Biodegradable and Compostable Plastics:

  • All permeable tea and coffee bags as well as fruit stickers have to be produced with home or industrial compostable materials;
  • Very lightweight plastic bags, such as those used for grocery store produce, must be entirely industrially compostable;
  • Member States can allow the mandatory use of compostable plastics for bags;
  • All other packaging shall be recyclable, but Member States have the power to derogate to this provision and allow compostable plastics in the food waste bin;
  • The European Commission can add other packaging to the mandatory list of compostable items;
  • By 2025 the European Commission shall request to CEN a review of the standard EN 13432 and the development of a home compostable standards for the applications covered by Article 8.

 

What’s next?

After the vote in the European Parliament, the European Council (Member States) is expected to finalize its position by 18 December and the trilogues will take place. Trilogues are informal tripartite meetings on legislative proposals between representatives of the Parliament, the Council and the Commission, with the objective of reaching a provisional agreement on a text acceptable to both the Council and the Parliament. For the PPWR these will be kicked off in January 2024 and should end before the European elections, set for June 2024.

 

 

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