Environmental advocates applaud the ENVI Committee’s recent vote on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), calling it a ‘relief for policymakers’ despite deviations from the Commission’s original proposal.

A recent round of voting on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) in the ENVI Committee has left environmental advocates at Zero Waste Europe relieved.

While the final result deviates from the Commission’s original proposal, Aline Maigret, Head of Policy at Zero Waste Europe, believes this is the best outcome attainable at this point.

Embracing reuse and reducing waste

Following the adoption of compromise amendments 10 and 12, there was a sense of relief in the room. Amendment 10 introduces reuse targets, proposing that 50% of large household appliances’ packaging from economic operators, including online platforms, should be reusable.

Notably, this move includes cardboard within these reuse targets, marking a step toward more refined reuse policies.

Zero Waste Europe Director-Founder Joan Marc Simon emphasised that this marks the first time in European packaging legislation where prevention and reuse are given a chance.

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The ENVI Committee’s decision aligns with the aim of reducing packaging waste.

Single-use packaging restrictions

Compromise Amendment 12 passed, imposing restrictions on the sale of single-use packaging and introducing a ban on single-use packaging in restaurants, preventing material substitution. This decision challenges fast-food giants like McDonald’s and underscores the importance of environmentally friendly choices over single-use packaging.

Despite opposition from the EPP and ECR, who sought to delete the ban entirely, the Committee’s stance reflects the commitment to robust environmental measures.

Mixed reactions on recycled content

While Compromise Amendment 8 guarantees a minimum quota for recycled content in new products, there’s a setback with the adoption of Compromise Amendment 25.

Amendment 25 introduces a loophole by allowing the use of bio-based virgin plastics within recycled content targets, raising concerns about the undermining of recycled content requirements.

Lauriane Veillard, Chemical Recycling and Plastic-to-Fuels Policy Officer highlighted the importance of considering the environmental impact of the recycling process and integrating environmental requirements into the circular economy agenda.

A vote marked by deliberations and lobbying

The ENVI Committee recently voted on the vital environmental package after a month-long delay. Leading up to the vote, the right-wing EPP and ECR parties tabled their own amendments, significantly diluting the regulation’s original ambitions.

The final tally in the ENVI Committee resulted in 56 votes in favour, 23 against and five abstentions, marking the end of the first stage of intense deliberations on the bill. Zero Waste Europe acknowledges that the compromise, though not perfect, is a step in the right direction.

They look forward to the upcoming plenary vote in November, considering it crucial for this environmental bill.