'Avoid inter-state disparity on packaging'


17 April 2023
European trade association joins those urging for consideration on Directive's PPWR Single Market Legal Basis.

EUROPEAN potato trade association, Europatat, has added its voice to a joint statement from those in the European packaging supply chain calling on the EU to preserve existing legislation within the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) to prevent disparity between Member States.

The Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD – Directive 94/62/EC) lays down measures to prevent the production of packaging waste, and to promote reuse of packaging and recycling and other forms of recovering packaging waste. It sets out the requirements that all packaging placed on the EU market must meet. 

As part of the European Green Deal and the new circular economy action plan, the Commission put forward a revision of the PPWD in November 2022. The initiative's objective is to ensure that all packaging is reusable or recyclable in an economically feasible way by 2030. 

The joint statement by Europatat and 120 other industry associations expresses support but voices concern about the potential erosion or split of the regulation’s legal basis as part of the co-decision process.

"The introduction of the internal market legal basis in the 1994 PPWD was intended to address differences among the various national rules on the management of packaging and packaging waste and consequent internal market barriers, while providing a high level of environmental protection. In recent years however, the packaging value chain has witnessed an increase of unilateral and divergent national packaging requirements (eg packaging bans, reuse and recycled content targets, labelling requirements). These have led to internal market barriers, environmental trade-offs, losses in economies of scale, and diversion of investments and R&D2," the statement says. 

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"More recently, several EU Member States have also adopted national legislation on packaging and packaging waste, pre-empting the adoption of EU-wide sectoral legislation irrespective of Article 6 of Directive (EU) 2015/1535 on Technical Regulations Information Systems (TRIS).

"Finally, several of the provisions included in the PPWR proposal already allow Member States to maintain or introduce additional national sustainability and information requirements. Should those or other provisions be based on an environmental legal basis, the potential for harmonisation would be weakened by a patchwork of national packaging legislations, to the detriment of consumers, environmental protection and the competitiveness of European industry.

"We strongly believe that the introduction of Article 192 TFEU (environmental protection) as a legal basis for some or all the Articles of the PPWR will further exacerbate the current situation, create legal uncertainty about the residual responsibilities of Member States and adversely impact the free movement of packaged goods within the EU and consequently the EU’s transition to a circular and climate-neutral economy."

The associations are urging co-legislators to preserve in its entirety the internal market legal basis.

Photo: Bermix Studiio

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