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EU Policy

Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD)

The EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (Directive 94/62/EC) is the core legal framework on packaging and packaging waste management in Europe. It sets out a number of measures to prevent or reduce the impact of packaging and packaging waste on the environment, and ensure the free circulation of packaged goods in all EU member states.

The Directive sets out recovery and recycling targets and deadlines for EU Member States to meet them. It also defines the essential requirements that packaging shall meet in order to be placed on the EU market. Among those requirements, packaging weight and volume must be the minimum needed for safety, hygiene and acceptability of the packaged product.

The EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive was adopted in 1994 and amended in 2004. It has been the key driver for increasing recycling and energy recovery of packaging waste across Europe over the last 20 years. A new review was started by the European Commission in December 2015.

See here for ACE’s position on the Revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. 

Waste Framework Directive

The first Waste Framework Directive dates back to 1975 and was substantially amended in 1991 and 2008 (2008/98/EC). This Directive establishes a framework for management of waste across the European Union.

The revised Directive contains a number of new definitions, sets targets for reuse and recycling, and includes a requirement for Member States to prepare waste prevention programmes.

It specifies a hierarchy of waste management options and has five steps: prevention; preparing for re-use; recycling; other recovery, e.g. energy recovery; and disposal.

However, Member States may depart from this hierarchy when defining policies on specific waste streams if it makes environmental sense to do so (in accordance with life-cycle assessments). The Directive was to be transposed by the Member States in their national legislation by 12 December 2010 at the latest.

The Revision of Waste Legislation 

The review of the waste legislation has started in 2015 with the aim to revise the key targets, assess the effectiveness of five EU Directives that are dealing with separate waste streams including packaging and packaging waste, and identify measures to address the issue of plastic waste.

The revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) provides a great opportunity for packaging companies to enhance their contribution to resource efficiency and to Europe’s circular economy. A revised Directive could help the packaging value chain as a whole meet two big challenges: the first is the collection and recycling of consumer packaging – easily the largest share in the packaging waste stream – which is presently sub-optimal; second, the major divergences that exist between Member States in meeting the Directive’s targets.