Europe Mulls Stricter Packaging Disposal Rules

Dec. 2, 2022
Industry and environmental advocates are fighting over how strict they should be.

Europe is undergoing a tug-of-war between food & beverage processors and environmental advocates over proposed European Union regulations on consumer packaging.

The EU released Nov. 30 a set of guidelines to overhaul its regulations regarding packaging disposal and reuse. They include goals to reduce overall packaging waste by 5% by 2030 and 20% by 2035, with specific targets for applications like beverages and take-out containers.

The head of FoodDrinkEurope, a processors’ trade group, told that the directives “are well-intended but regrettably unrealistic without appropriate enabling conditions and could even hamper, rather than enhance, sustainable packaging aims.”

On the other hand, environmental groups decried how the EU scaled back some of its goals after the food & beverage industry reacted to an early draft of the regulations. Examples include eliminating a total ban on expanded polystyrene and scaling back some of the reuse requirements.

The next step is for proposal to be considered by the full European Parliament and EU Council.

About the Author

Pan Demetrakakes | Senior Editor

Pan has written about the food and beverage industry for more than 25 years. His areas of coverage have included formulations, processing, packaging, marketing and retailing. Pan worked for Food Processing Magazine for six years in the 1990s, where he was operations editor (his current role), touring dozens of food plants of every description. He has also worked for Packaging and Food & Beverage Packaging magazines, the latter as chief editor, during which he won three ASBPE awards. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a BA in communications.

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