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Finland and Italy seek to block single-use packaging regulations

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Two EU countries threaten to weaken reuse and waste targets ahead of EU ministerial meeting in Brussels next week


In a joint statement circulated among diplomats this week and seen by Euronews, Finland and Italy urged governments preparing positions on packaging and packaging waste regulations (PPWR) to take action against single-use packaging. It called for opposition to proposals for stricter restrictions and reuse targets. .

In the document, both countries call for the removal of reuse and the lifting of all restrictions on single-use packaging. Italy and Finland’s position is based on the compromise ‘general approach” is different.

Specifically, Finland and Italy expect EU ministers to conclude political negotiations on PPWR at the Environment Council meeting in Brussels next week (18 December), with particular emphasis on food and beverages. Hoping to avoid single-use packaging restrictions. On November 22nd, the European Parliament decided to water down the single-use restriction clause at its plenary session in Strasbourg.

Both countries are also seeking exemptions for single-use formats that can demonstrate the best environmental outcomes, or where economic operators can demonstrate high rates of separate collection of packaging waste.

Exemptions should also be considered where packaging reuse or access to the infrastructure necessary for proper reuse is not technically possible, the paper states.

A joint document circulated by Finland and Italy attacks proposed market regulations related to certain packaging formats, citing the “huge impact” on the agri-food and hospitality sectors. According to the signatories, the upcoming legislation should “keep open the option” of alternative packaging materials that provide the best overall environmental outcomes in line with life cycle assessments.

Furthermore, Finland and Italy argue that reuse and refilling should be considered “only for products for which reuse and refilling is technically and practicable.” They also particularly criticized the mandate for food and beverage reuse targets, saying their impacts had not been properly assessed and argued that they could lead to food safety concerns.

Both countries are calling for exemptions from reusing targets if it can be shown that they do not provide the best environmental outcomes. It also calls on the Council to allow EU member states with high rates of separate collection of packaging waste to refrain from recycling. The same applies to member states with high recycling rates.

Jean-Pierre Schweitzer, Circular Economy Policy Manager at the European Environment Agency (EBB), said that the reuse and restriction of unnecessary packaging is the most environmentally impacting measure in PPWR. “Reversing these measures is irresponsible and risks allowing an additional 7.3 million tonnes of packaging waste to reach the market by 2030,” he added.

The Spanish Presidency confirmed in a press conference held yesterday that reuse targets are a “key outstanding issue” to be discussed among policymakers.

To justify their position, Finland and Italy point to the Waste Framework Directive (WFD), which affects the PPWR on the EU’s waste hierarchy, stating that the WFD “aims at preventing the generation of waste. “Not only do we follow a scientific life cycle approach,” he said. ”.

The EU permanent representatives of Finland and Italy had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

“We hope to reach an agreement that addresses these concerns.” [reuse and refill] Spain’s EU Council President told a press conference that member states will work together to ensure ambitions are not weakened too much.

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