The European Commission has announced new rules in the fight against plastic consumption, in particular packaging waste. The measures would reduce packaging waste per European by no less than 37 percent. Sounds good, but what does it actually mean?
In their report, the Commission mentions some striking figures: each European currently produces almost 180 kilograms of packaging waste per year. Packaging accounts for 40 percent of all plastic consumption and at the current rate, the mountain of packaging waste is growing even faster than the population.
If we do not intervene, our use will increase by another 19 percent by 2030. The new European rules should prevent this, for example by preventing the use of disposable plastic, but also by promoting reuse and refilling. In addition, the goal is set to make all packaging recyclable by 2030.
What does that mean concretely?
Large consumers of packaging material, such as takeaway restaurants or e-commerce companies, will be obliged to offer a certain percentage of their products in reusable or refillable packaging. The committee is also banning clearly unnecessary disposable packaging such as plastic cups in restaurants or cafes, bags for fruit and vegetables or miniature shampoo bottles in hotels.
In addition, recycling will be stimulated even more, for example through a deposit for plastic bottles and cans. The importance of clear communication is also emphasized: for example, labels will have to indicate more clearly from which material a product is made and how you can best sort it. There will be uniform symbols for this that will be used throughout the EU.
A transition of this size obviously requires a major investment, but if the measures can be implemented, the commission estimates that packaging waste per European could be reduced by no less than 37 percent.