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PPWR rollout provides “golden opportunity” for packaging industry evolution

May 9 2024
PPWR rollout provides “golden opportunity” for packaging industry evolution

The final adoption of the EU's Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulations (PPWR) marks a significant milestone in the journey towards a more sustainable future for Europe’s print and packaging sector.  

Intended to bring total uniformity where the incumbent Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) allowed room for interpretation, the PPWR deal has now been struck.  

The agreed PPWR terms aim to incrementally decrease the total amount of packaging waste produced across the EU. The targets are to reduce waste generation by 5% by 2030, 10% by 2035, and 15% by 2040. As the regulations come into effect, PHD Marketing emphasises the transformative potential of the PPWR in accelerating industry-wide change. 

James Coldman, Account Director at PHD Marketing and packaging regulation communications specialist, comments on the implications of the PPWR for businesses across Europe: "It has felt to be a long time coming, but with the final adoption of the EU PPWR regulations, even as a slightly softened version to satisfy all parties, we are witnessing a pivotal moment for the packaging industry.  

“We are often asking what can move the sustainability needle for our industry, and these regulations have the potential to be the single most influential catalyst for change. Now, as paper packaging materials have been re-evaluated and the scope has extended to cover healthcare packaging, what it brings is clarity and a clearer roadmap to cohesive and connected packaging circularity. 

“While we’ve seen a lot of progress made by individual businesses in areas such as recyclability and the use of post-consumer materials, the PPWR is a golden opportunity, because it puts a circular economy front and centre in a more consistent way. The industry is all rowing in the same direction. That’s enormously powerful, and the net zero carbon targets first set in the 2015 Paris Agreement now seem much more within reach. Collaboration will be key in ensuring the successful implementation of the PPWR across the industry. As businesses work together to navigate the complexities of the new regulations, we can move a ‘culture of sustainability’ from marketing buzz to something more meaningful. 

“While it’s been a drawn-out process to get to this point and compromises have been made in the delivery of the regulation, there’s huge potential to safeguard the future of the industry. Reinforcing the waste hierarchy and eliminating ‘forever chemicals’ is valuable on its own, but the PPWR is also set to increase the amount of recycled material in the packaging loop, a big win for packaging businesses that are pushing towards a closed loop economy. 

“Our message to the EU packaging market is that the PPWR could provide the traction we need. We have treated a packaging circular economy as a far-off end goal we can reach incrementally, but with PPWR now in effect, we might have just hit the turbo button.”