EU Undergoes Packaging and Packaging Waste Revision

On 30 November 2022, the European Commission announced it would revise the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. Key objectives of this review is to:

  • prevent the generation of packaging waste, reducing it in quantity, and promoting reuse and refill;
  • ensure that all packaging on the EU market will be recyclable in an economically viable way by 2030;
  • increase the use of recycled plastics in packaging, thus enabling more high quality (“closed loop”) recycling and substituting virgin materials

These objectives aim to support the targets established under the European Green Deal and the new circular economy action plan that strives towards “all packaging on the EU market being reusable or recyclable in an economically viable way by 2030”.

While a large portion of the proposal focuses on reusable plastic packaging of less relevance to wine, early assessments of the revision have noted some key aspects of relevance;

  1. Overall, the revision is hoped to bring some consistency and overarching framework to the EU member states implementation of such measures. Prior to the introduction of this revision, a number of member states have proposed measures to address packaging and packaging waste that are inconsistent. It is hoped this overarching EU guidance will at least encourage greater harmonisation of such measures across Europe.
  2. The revisions seek to encourage member states adoption of “deposit and return systems” (ie container deposit schemes). However, noting the “nature of the products and the differences in their production and distribution systems”, the revision recommends that such systems should “not be obligatory for packaging for wine, aromatised wine products, spirit drinks and milk and milk products.” 
  3. Of note, the revision also includes reuse targets for wine:
    • from 1 January 2030, 5 % of those products are made available in reusable packaging within a system for re-use or by enabling refill;
    • from 1 January 2040, 15 % of those products are made available in reusable packaging within a system for re-use or by enabling refill.

There is limited detail beyond this, on how such measures would apply, and further analysis of the implications of these measures for wine is required. Australian Grape & Wine is working with its international colleagues in World Wine Trade Group to review and respond to the measures.

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