The European soft drinks sector, represented by UNESDA, has expressed its “deep concerns” with the outcome of the vote by the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment (ENVI) on its amendments to the draft EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR).

ENVI has clarified its stance on the PPWR, with rapporteur Frédérique Ries stating: “The Environment Committee has sent out a strong message in favour of a complete overhaul of the European packaging and packaging waste market.”

However, UNESDA director general Nicholas Hodac asserts that: ‘’We welcome the very strong stance taken by MEPs in favour of circularity by promoting closed-loop recycling of beverage bottles and a wider rollout of Deposit and Return Systems (DRS).

“However, it is alarming to see MEPs support higher reuse targets without any further impact assessment and to give Member States the flexibility to go even beyond these increased targets. Is the EU serious about pushing for a patchwork of national targets that will have devastating consequences on Europe’s competitiveness? The EU should not set targets without any evidence justifying them.’’

In particular, UNESDA “deplores” ENVI’s vote on the compromise amendment (CA 10) on reuse and refill, highlighting the importance of complementarity between reuse, refill, and recycling. The organisation states its “disappointment” as to ENVI not approving exemption mechanisms to the reuse and refill targets.

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Sections of ENVI’s vote that UNESDA supports

There are some decisions made by ENVI as to the PPWR that UNESDA approves of.

These include ENVI’s support for a wider rollout of DRS across Europe and for a mechanism of priority access to certain feedstocks for recycling.

Additionally, UNESDA backs ENVI’s support for a mandatory separate collection target of 90%, calling this “a necessary step towards enhancing packaging circularity”.

The European Parliament will formalise its position on the PPWR in plenary in the end of November and Member States are expected to adopt their position by the end of the year.

UNESDA is calling upon MEPs and Member States to preserve the EU single market and provide beverage producers with flexibility to invest in what they consider to be the best packaging mix.