Packaging and Sustainability
Refill stations must remain optional
Negotiations on new EU packaging regulation enter decisive phase
Brussels is working at full speed to finalise the new EU Packaging Regulation. It is intended to
decisively advance the circular economy in Europe.
One of the basic ideas of the regulation is the mandatory recyclability of all packaging from 2030.With new design requirements, it should be possible to recycle a considerable part of the packagingmaterial. “The potential of recycling is to be fully exploited – this is good news for the circulareconomy. However, the expertise of the packaging and recycling industry must be decisive in thedesign guidelines. Their involvement must be anchored in the regulation,” says Carl Dominik Klepper, chairman of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Verpackung und Umwelt (AGVU), a German association of thepackaging value chain.
The European Parliament, which is currently working on the draft Regulation, is also planning an
obligation for the extensive provision of refill stations for unpacked products in supermarkets. “Only a
few products are suitable for sale through refill stations without restrictions – hygiene and the
avoidance of food waste must continue to be a priority,” explains Klepper. “It should therefore be up
to retailers to decide to what extent they set up refill stations.”
Another pillar of the proposal is the mandatory use of already recycled material in plastic packaging
from 2030 – an important measure for closing raw material cycles and conserving resources.
However, doubts remain about the feasibility of the planned quotas in the area of food packaging.
“Here, the lack of official permits for recycling processes that can produce food-safe material is
causing problems. However, the EU institutions’ proposals so far do not point to a solution,” Klepper
The EU Commission’s draft law is currently being negotiated in the EU Parliament and between the
member states in the Council. A number of proposals are on the table – but it is questionable whether
an agreement on a common text will be reached before the European elections in 2024.
The full position of the AGVU can be found here.
The press release is available for download here.