German legislators want changes to planned EU regulation / Practical recycling criteria required
In the course of the implementation of the planned EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), the German Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament, has demanded concrete changes to the proposals. With this, the chamber of German states is intervening in the ongoing discussion on changes to the EU packaging law.

For example, the Bundesrat has said there should be no exemptions for fibre-based packaging from quotas for recyclate-use or rules for reuse. Isabell Schmidt, managing director for recycling management at German plastic packaging association Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen (IK, Bad Homburg; welcomed this decision: “We advocate material-neutral regulations. Where reusable packaging is to be promoted for ecological reasons, there must be no blanket exemptions for certain types of material, otherwise one disposable product will only be replaced by another.”

The Federal Council takes a stand (Photo: Federal Council)

Similarly, there should be no exemptions for the use of recycled plastic when it is combined with other packaging materials, she said. “This regulation is nonsensical and promotes a shift to unecological composite materials.”

Related: European trade bodies warn of waste regulation disparity

The industry group also said it supports the recommendation to tighten the recyclability criteria to at least 80% instead of 70% from 2030. “Packaging for which 30% material loss is planned from the outset should not be put on the market,” Schmidt said and called more of a focus on fully recyclable mono-material.

The association explained that it also welcomes the upper house’s clarification that the calculation of the licence fee for plastic packaging should be based exclusively on its recyclability, and that industrial or large-scale commercial packaging should be given special consideration in recyclability criteria. From the industry’s point of view, the recommendation to base the definition of when packaging is recycled “on a large scale” on the available recycling capacities is also correct.
Group wants flexibility for recyclate quotas
But more needs to be done. “The preconditions for the use of recyclates are very different – for example, much more recyclate can be used in a paint bucket than in shampoo or even food packaging,” Schmidt explained. “It would therefore make sense to allow a balance between different manufacturers. What matters is not where the recycled material is used, but that more petroleum-based plastic is replaced.”

Related: European Commission halts draft plastic packaging ban for produce

The upper house’s recommendation that packaging bans should only be issued by the EU lawmakers and not by the European Commission is also finding support. “Bans are always the legislator’s last resort and must therefore not be decided by the administration,” said Martin Engelmann, CEO of the industry association.
Internal market needs uniform packaging rules
To achieve a return to uniform packaging rules in the EU’s internal market, the German upper house wants to stop individual EU member states from introducing higher reuse quotas for packaging, a decision the association also welcomed. “Reuse quotas must be regulated uniformly throughout the EU,” Engelmann said.

On the other hand, the recommendation from German legislators to also place the EU regulation on the legal basis of environmental jurisdiction is being met with criticism. “The demand for a second legal basis is playing with fire,” Engelmann said, pointing out that it would then be possible for member states to enact regulations that deviate from EU rules.
EU legislative procedure begins
After the commission initially wanted to publish the revision of the EU Packaging Directive in December 2021, the proposal was presented in November 2022. Following its publication, a legislative procedure has started at the EU level that may take up to two years.

Related: EU draft law sets targets for reuse, recycling

The European Council and the European Parliament are to discuss the proposal in the coming months and submit proposals for amendments. As part of the procedure, the German upper house issued an opinion in mid May. “With these recommendations, the Bundesrat asks the Federal Government to be the agent for these amendments in the EU Parliament,” a house spokesperson told

After the discussions in the European Parliament and the European Council are complete, the commission will join the talks, which are then known as a “trilogue” in EU parlance. Only after this has been completed will the regulation enter into force and apply in all EU member states. The timeframe for the process is currently unclear.
31.05.2023 [252800-0]
Published on 31.05.2023
Verpackungen: Bundesrat fordert Änderungen bei geplanter EU-VerordnungGerman version of this article...

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