EU Council Approves Sweeping Waste Reduction Regulations, Including Packaging

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May 29, 2018 - Kirsten Wallerstedt

On 22 May 2018, the Council of the European Union adopted four pieces of legislation known as the "waste package" which set legally binding targets to decrease waste generation, improve controls on waste management, promote product reuse and increase recycling. These measures are part of the circular economy package.

This new legislation requires member states to meet specified targets for the reuse and recycling of municipal waste by set deadlines: 55% by 2025, 60% by 2030, and 65% by 2035.

By 1 January 2025, member states will have to have systems in place resulting in the separation of textiles and hazardous waste in garbage collected from households. By the end of 2023, member states will also have to ensure that bio-waste is collected separately or is recycled at the source.

Separate collection requirements are already in place for paper and cardboard, glass, metals and plastic.

Specific targets are also set for packaging:

The legislative texts may be found here:

Now that final approval has been obtained from the Council, this legislation will officially enter into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

Business Impact
It is important for industry to know that the legislation enforces requirements for producers to establish and maintain extended producer responsibility schemes, in accordance with Articles 8 and 8a of Directive 2008/98/EC. This means that businesses will be responsible for the waste stage of their products, including packaging.

The goal of the legislation is that products, materials and resources are reused instead of sent to landfills. To this end, the legislation also asks member states to, by 2030, stop accepting any waste in any landfill which is suitable for recycling or recovery.

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