Packaging and Sustainability

Fewer bans, More recycling

European Parliament finalises its position on the EU Packaging Regulation

Berlin, 22 November 2023

It was a controversial vote: today, the European Parliament (EP) finalised its position on the Commission’s proposal for an EU Packaging Regulation.

With regard to the planned packaging bans, the plenary did not follow the recommendation of the Environment Committee, but adopted the view of the Industry Committee and large sections of the business community: There will be fewer bans on specific packaging formats, for example for fruit and vegetables. The lack of a scientific basis and the lack of transparency in the selection of packaging to be banned had been criticised in advance. “The European Parliament’s reduction of unsubstantiated packaging bans is to be welcomed. It is right to focus on packaging reduction, but with more suitable instruments such as mandatory minimisation targets and national reduction targets for packaging waste,” says Carl Dominik Klepper, Chairman of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Verpackung und Umwelt (AGVU).

The European Parliament also confirms the mandatory recyclability for all packaging proposed by the EU Commission but abandons the fixed target year of 2030. Packaging must not only be theoretically recyclable but also be recycled in practice. The exact conditions for this still remain unclear: the European Parliament only proposes the existence of “sufficient capacity” of recycling facilities as a criterion. The Council, which represents the EU member states, is still debating this point and is aiming for an orientation towards EU-wide fixed recycling targets. “Of course, the success of the circular packaging economy depends entirely on the quantities actually recycled,” explains Klepper. “However, certain packaging must not be taken off the market because it is not recycled satisfactorily in a few Member States.

Whether the new EU packaging regulation can be adopted before the European elections in 2024 remains completely open: This would require the European Parliament and the Council, which is expected to adopt its negotiating position in mid-December, to agree on a joint text by the beginning of February 2024.

The press release is available for download here.


Anna Kupferschmitt, Head of EU Affairs and Communications

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Verpackung und Umwelt e. V., Reinhardtstr. 25, 10117 Berlin, Tel.: + 49 30 206 426 67, E-Mail:

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