HomeIndustry InsightsStatement from UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe Regarding the EU Plenary Vote on Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR)

Statement from UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe Regarding the EU Plenary Vote on Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR)


Following the European Parliament's recent vote on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe acknowledges significant strides made by EU institutions in standardizing packaging waste management and enhancing predictability for businesses, while also promoting the circularity of beverage packaging.


Key outcomes include the establishment of a mandatory 90% collection target for beverage PET bottles and aluminum cans, alongside the requirement for Member States to implement effective Deposit and Return Systems (DRS). These measures are pivotal in boosting packaging collection rates and minimizing litter.


The agreement also facilitates the recycling of beverage packaging by allowing Member States to prioritize access to specific recycled materials, thereby promoting high-quality recycling practices.


Nicholas Hodac, Director General of UNESDA, commented: "We are eager to collaborate with Member States, EPR schemes, and DRS operators to secure a consistent and adequate supply of food-grade recycled materials, essential for meeting our recycling content goals. Increasing the use of recycled materials in our packaging is crucial to reducing our environmental impact."


On the other hand, UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe has expressed disappointment with the new regulation's approach to reuse. According to Nicholas Hodac, the regulation fails to acknowledge the relationship between reuse and recycling, particularly for efficient packaging formats such as plastic beverage bottles and aluminum cans. "The exemption from reuse targets overlooks the environmental benefits these packages offer and the substantial investments our sector has made in robust collection and recycling systems," explains Nicholas.


While reuse is undoubtedly a part of the overarching strategy to reduce packaging waste, the effectiveness of such initiatives can vary significantly depending on the context and type of packaging involved. A more tailored approach, which allows for sector-specific evaluations and adjustments based on geographical factors, would enhance environmental outcomes. Unfortunately, the current agreement does not cater to this need and instead imposes a rigid framework where the opportunity for sectors to seek exemptions from reuse targets is extremely limited and contingent on the broader success or failure of the entire packaging industry.


Additionally, the agreement overlooks the potential environmental benefits of innovative systems that enable refilling, which could further reduce packaging waste.


In conclusion, the European soft drinks industry remains committed to leading efforts towards packaging circularity and looks forward to continued collaboration with all stakeholders and governments. This commitment extends to ensuring the effective implementation of new regulations, including the development of comprehensive secondary legislation, as the journey towards complete packaging circularity continues.

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