Industry Insights · 9min read
New (Food) Packaging Laws in Europe
These new legislative changes are coming your way in 2022!
The long list of ambitious targets laid out by governments for the next decade brings with it a string of legislative changes. Globally, 2025 has been pinpointed by experts as the next significant milestone for sustainable packaging goals.
The European Commission is ramping up the EU’s transition to a (more) circular economy with CEAP as well as initiatives like the Circular Plastics Alliance. Meanwhile, member states are faced with the challenges of ensuring that all packaging on the EU market becomes reusable or recyclable while remaining economically viable by 2030. In the UK, the pressure on producer responsibility is mounting, with some ‘closed loop’ recycling targets laid out and others in the works for the next decade.
To help food manufacturers and packagers operating in the EU and UK plan ahead, we’ve summarised some of the most relevant (food) packaging laws in Europe for you below.
Ban on Plastic Packaging for Fruits & Vegetables | January 2022
Closely following the newly instated 2021 single-use plastics ban, France takes its next big step towards its commitment to recycle 100% of plastics by 2025 and phase out single-use plastics by 2040–a list of 30 produce is no longer allowed to be wrapped in plastic and also not allowed to be marked with plastic stickers. The use of biodegradable alternatives is still permitted.
Mandatory Deposit on Beverages | 2022
This year, Germany is vamping up its pioneering beverage deposit scheme even further and making deposits mandatory for all disposable plastic beverage bottles and cans. The only exception is milk bottles and bottled milk products, whose transitional period is scheduled to end in 2024.
Marketplace Obligations | July 2022
As of this summer, online marketplace operators and fulfilment service providers, including those in the food industry, will be obligated under the German Packaging Act to audit all producers on their websites who sell packaged goods and ensure that they are listed in the packaging register (LUCID). Furthermore, they will also be held accountable for ensuring that the producers participate in at least one dual system, which factors in a list of ecological criteria. Compliance failures can be met with distribution prohibitions and up to EUR 200,000 fees.
Mandatory Environmental Labeling | June 30, 2022
This summer, Italy will be spearheading labelling laws as it mandates that manufacturers must actively educate their consumers about material composition and lifecycles. This regulation is designed to help set new standards for packaging collection, reuse and recycling.
Plastic Packaging Tax | January 2023
Yes, this isn’t due to take effect till 2023, but 2022 is certainly flying by so we kept this in just to be sure that your business is prepared for this. After being pushed back multiple times because of the pandemic, it is now expected to enter force at the beginning of next year. From that point on, packaging producers, purchasers and sellers from all sectors will be taxed EUR450/tonne of plastic. Businesses that use recycled plastics and compostable/biodegradable plastics will be exempt.
Plastic Packaging Tax | April 1, 2022
Nope, this is not an April Fools joke: manufacturers and importers of more than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging per year will be required to pay £200 per metric tonne of plastic packaging. The tax applies to all packaging that is predominantly plastic by weight and excludes packaging that contains 30% recycled plastic or more. For food manufacturers, experts encourage accurate record-keeping and declaration to avoid bureaucratic difficulties or fines.
Also, keep your eyes open for…
While the exact date is yet to be defined, new regulations will be laid out early in the year for food-safe packaging materials. A streamlined certification process for plastic FCM recycling is also currently in the works. And the EU’s first report on packaging waste, as part of the 2018 amended Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, will be published this coming year.
Imagery: (1) Waldemar Brandt, (2) Sigmund & (3) John Cameron via unsplash.com