For those in procurement dealing with packaging supplies, the EU directive on packaging and packaging waste poses a new set of requirements. Whether a packaging company, distributor or retailer – by 31 December 2025, they will all need to comply with the directive’s stipulations for packaging material. What does the directive mean for current and future packaging supplier relationships?
Last September, the World Bank warned of the drastic increase in waste across the world. By 2050, the amount of waste will increase by around 70 percent. Currently, according to the report, there are around two billion tonnes of waste annually – by 2050 it will be around 3.4 billion tonnes.
For example, the consumption of packaging continues to increase in Germany too. According to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), it rose again in 2018 to a record high of 18.9 million tonnes. Each individual citizen produced 227.5 kilograms of packaging waste – one kilo more than in the previous year. Private consumers again accounted for 47 percent of this. They produced more than 8.9 million tonnes of packaging waste or 107.7 kilos per capita – one per cent more than in 2017 and a full 20.6 percent more than in 2010.
EU directive on packaging comes to its full effect
Packaging and packaging waste have been on the agenda of the European Union for quite some time. Indeed, the EU’s efforts to solve the dilemma of hazardous and non degradable product packaging material goes back as far as 1994, when the foundation of directive 94/62/EC was set. Some four decades later, it is shaping up to come to its full effect.
For those in procurement dealing with packaging supplies, the EU directive on packaging and packaging waste poses a set of demands. Whether a packaging company, distributor or retailer – by the deadline of 31 December 2025, they will all be held responsible to comply with the directive’s requirements for packaging material. The prerequisite of this being of course that all member states by then have translated the directive into national law. The EU has set out to “move towards a circular economy” as it states in its latest amendment of the directive from 2018.
The directive covers all packaging placed on the European market and all packaging waste – whether it is used or released at industrial, commercial, office, shop, service, household or any other level, regardless of the material used.
- By 31.12. 2025, <= 65 % of all packaging weight must be recycled
- By 31.12.2030, <= 70 % of all packaging weight must be recycled
How product packaging managers must prepare
According to the packaging directive, these are the requirements national law needs to meet:
- Product packaging must be light and kept at a minimum
The requirement is to use as little packaging as necessary without compromising health, safety and hygiene regulations. 65 percent of the weight of the packaging material then used must be recyclable. From 31 December 2030, this requirement shall then apply to 70 percent of the weight of the packaging material used.
- Product packaging and hazardous ingredients
For hazardous ingredients, the EU sets clear requirements: The content of harmful and hazardous substances and materials in packaging should be kept to a minimum. In this way, the EU wants to prevent emissions from the combustion of packaging. Or that pollutants that are not completely degradable seep away during landfilling and thus reach the groundwater.
- Product packaging must contain sustainable materials
Product packaging should be reusable and recyclable. On one hand, this refers to the property of the packaging materials to be recyclable and thus to be used more than once. On the other hand, the requirement refers to the nature of the materials: after multiple use, the disposal of the product packaging materials must be ensured to be processable for energy recovery. Energy is recovered by burning waste in specially designed plants.
How procurement teams can prepare for the new requirements
It is now up to the governments of the EU member states to successively implement the directive into national, applicable law. It also quantified the consequences of not complying with the law. A fine of up to 200 000 Euro can be issued for companies not compliant with certain regulations of the law.
Procurement teams should already prepare for these new regulations today. In order to adjust their supply chains for packaging materials, many will need to analyze their supplier networks and begin to search for alternative suppliers with the right capabilities. Digital Sourcing with Scoutbee´s Streamline helps to identify suppliers who already meet all the criteria of the new law.
Scoutbee´s sales team can provide you with more advice on how to identify, pre-qualify and onboard packaging suppliers that can help you increase the sustainability of your packaging .
Don´t wait until the end of 2025, get in touch with our experts today!
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For more information on packaging requirements for goods produced, sold and traded in Germany, check Verpackungsgesetz-info.de./en.