In the last few months, the European Commission (EC) has announced several legislative initiatives, steaming from the European Circular Economy Action Plan. Here we focus on those relevant for Packaging and Packaging Waste, Biobased/Biodegradable and Compostable Plastics & Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive.

On 30 November the EC is going to announce an in depth proposal for amending the Packaging and Packaging Waste framework Directive. According to the details available,  the proposal includes several new measures, such as binding packaging waste reduction targets, mandatory shares of refillable packaging on the market, obligations for Member States (MS) to introduce deposit-return schemes at least for beverage cans and plastic bottles. All over Europe there is between supporters of such measures on one side, and advocates of the existing recycling system on the other. That may pave the way for an in-depth dialogue among institutions on the EU level.

The EC has also announced a policy framework on biobased, biodegradable and of compostable plastics. The initiative aims, as stated by the EC, to “promote bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics that lead to genuine environmental benefits.”

Finally yet importantly, the Single-Use Plastics Directive has been into force since 3 July 2021, giving two years for MS to transpose it into their national legislation. In this context, in January 2022, the EC launched infringement procedures and, at the end of September 2022, the EC took legal steps against 11 Member States, calling on them to step up the implementation of the Directive.

To summarise, the legal framework on the EU level is about to change quickly and deeply quite soon and concerning several key waste and goods streams, such as Packaging and Packaging Waste, biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics and also single use plastics (the latter with foreseeable news on the national level for the abovementioned MS).

Such profound changes call for an ever-stronger cooperation and expertise sharing among MS, in order to support existing Good Practices and forthcoming legal requirements and targets for waste management.

Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash