Yesterday, the European Parliament voted on its position on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) in a plenary session. Even though ACR+ salutes the adoption of the position with a final of 426 votes in favor and 125 against, we deplore the missed opportunities caused by compromising.

There were many expectations on the content of the European Parliament’s position and despite their awareness of it, MEPs diluted ambitions by favoring recycling over prevention and failed to put a halt to single-use packaging.

Among the positive changes brought by the position, we applaud the call of MEPs for a stronger vigilance against PFAS in an effort to preserve our health, as their danger is no longer uncertain. Regarding packaging waste, we welcome the maintenance of the initial targets to reduce overall generation by 5% by 2030, by 10 % by 2035 and by 15 % by 2040. We also approve the safeguarding of the reduction targets linked to plastic packaging specifically: 10% by 2030, 15% by 2035 and 20% by 2040. However, the numerous exemptions will certainly affect the impact of these targets.

Even though MEPs ensured that all packaging is to be recyclable by 2030, we regret that recycling has once again been prioritized over preventative measures, which goes against the waste hierarchy.

Indeed, ACR+ regrets the choice of MEPs to extend the derogations to the list of unnecessary packaging formats, to force final distributors of beverages and take-away food in the food service sector to only give clients the option of bringing their own container, and to limit themselves to a ban of non recyclable packaging by 2030.

Maintaining options of single-use packaging when and where it could easily be avoided will comfort consumers in unsustainable habits and fail to encourage them in the adoption of responsible choices.

While this outcome is not as bright as expected, it does not hinder our efforts to walk towards a sustainable and just society. On the contrary, it strengthens our conviction that decentralised authorities have a key role in the transition to circular economy. Here, specifically, they are in the frontline to promote reuse and reduce packaging at local level. ACR+ will keep working with its members to develop frontrunner initiatives raising the ambition beyond the level of the PPWR.

Our attention now shifts onto the Council of the European Union that will adopt its position on the regulation.

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