Every goods needs packaging in order to be protected and safely transported, yet packaging and packaging waste significantly affect the environment and the use of raw materials. New rules are proposed at the EU level to solve the growing problem of packaging, which is a growing source of waste, and consumer frustration is also growing. On average, each European produces approximately 180 kg of packaging waste per year.
If the legal regulations are not changed, greenhouse gas emissions from packaging would amount to 66 million tons. By 2030, the proposed measures would reduce that number to 43 million, and the reduction is approximately as much as Croatia emits annually.
Due to the worrying statistics, it is necessary to prevent the creation of packaging waste, encourage reuse and refilling, and thus by 2030 enable the recycling of all packaging in an economically sustainable way. The goal is to provide consumers with reusable packaging, eliminate unnecessary packaging, limit excessive packaging and provide clear labels so that everyone has the option of recycling properly. Following on from the above, the need for original materials will be reduced.
At the time of biowaste disposal, it will be clearer to consumers which very limited types of packaging must be composted. There will be no more confusion about which packaging belongs in which recycling bin. Markings and labels of what the packaging is made of will help to return it to the waste stream where it belongs, and the bins will have the same markings that will be the same throughout the EU.
- Reduce the amount of packaging waste, limit unnecessary packaging, promote reusable and refillable solutions
- Encourage “closed loop” recycling
- Reduce the need for primary natural resources and create a functional market for secondary raw materials, by increasing the use of recycled plastic in packaging
Social media users often criticize oversized packaging when consumers receive boxes of products they order online. A small product is often unnecessarily packed in a much larger box. For example, Amazon’s plastic footprint increased by 18% in the period 2020 and 2021 (according to a report by the Oceana organization) and created 321 million kilograms of packaging waste, mostly in the form of airbags that are used as protective packaging in packages, which in the long run could go around the Earth more than 800 times…
Reuse and refill of packaging has suddenly decreased in the last 20 years, so companies will have to offer a certain percentage of their products to consumers in reusable or refillable packaging (takeaway or delivery drinks and dishes). The format and labeling of the packaging will be standardized. The deposit return system for plastic bottles and aluminum cans will become mandatory.
As part of the fight against wasteful packaging, single-use packaging for food and drinks consumed in restaurants and cafes will be banned, as well as single-use packaging for fruit and vegetables, miniature shampoo bottles and other miniature packaging like those we found in hotels.
It is expected that the mentioned measures will be positive for our pockets – every European could save almost €100 a year if companies also pass on the savings to consumers. We are also looking forward to new innovations in practical solutions that will make packaging smaller, reusable and recyclable.
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