The European Parliament lawmaker negotiating a new law on packaging waste has deleted several packaging reuse targets proposed by the European Commission for the restaurant sector.

The move was reported by a pan-European news website specialising in EU policies, EURACTIV, which has seen a set of amendments.

Centre lawmaker Frédérique Ries removed the targets, including 20% of takeaway drinks sales in reusable or refillable packaging by 2030, rising to 80% by 2040.

Ries justified her move by stating that the environmental benefits of reuse in the food and drink takeaway sector are difficult to prove and there is a lack of a large-scale system within member states.

The industry criticises reuse targets

The move by Ries follows criticism from the industry about the reuse targets. The soft drinks lobby UNESDA has called for a further environmental and cost analysis of the targets.

European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers director general Eleni Despotou pointed out several issues with sweeping reuse across the transport sector. These issues include whether this would always be the environmental option and how it would work for products imported from faraway countries.

Support for high reuse targets

However, some are supportive of the Commission’s ambition around reuse. This includes two parliamentary lawmakers working with Ries on the law.

Delara Burkhardt, who is negotiating the law on behalf of the Socialists and Democrats said: “Reuse in the food and drink takeaway sector might not have been properly taken into account in the Commission’s impact assessment. However, we have a lot of other studies showing the environmental benefits of reuse in that sector.”

The Greens’ negotiator Grace O’Sullivan said similarly, pointing out that “the taxpayer is currently the one who pays for the disposal or recycling of plastic waste.”

Clarifying reuse and refill

Despite criticism of Ries’ choice to remove the reuse targets, some have praised her decision to make a clearer distinction between reuse and refill, including enhancing the definition of refill to emphasise it is a waste prevention measure.

Ries has also clarified that refills should only count towards waste prevention targets, not reuse targets.