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The Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation – The role of closed loop circularity


The Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation – The role of closed loop circularity


At the end of November 2022, the European Commission released a proposed revision of the EU legislation on Packaging and Packaging Waste, with the aim of stopping the dramatic increase of packaging waste generation and increasing the proportion of finite resources recirculated back into our economy.

But how do we define circularity? Does it need to happen in a closed loop or is recycling for diverse end uses enough? Do we take into account the future uses of a material as well as its origin?

On average, each European generates almost 180 kg of packaging waste per year. Packaging is one of the main destinations for virgin materials, including 40% of plastics produced in the EU. Without action, the EU would see a further 19% increase in packaging waste by 2030, and for plastic packaging waste even a 46% increase.

The European Commission’s proposed revision attempts to tackle this problem by introducing measures and targets to increase reduction, recycling and reuse of packaging. However, some stakeholders in the food and beverage industry argue that European legislation does not properly define and promote a closed loop vision of ‘circularity’ and 'high-quality recycling'.

PET is the only product stream currently recycled on a large scale. Food and beverage sectors claim that by using recycled PET in non-food applications, nonfood sectors break the circularity loop as recycled PET cannot be used for the purpose it was first designed for: high-quality, food-contact material. This, they say, amounts to greenwashing. Adding to the dilemma, food and beverage sectors believe competition from non-food sectors for recycled, food-contact grade materials may make it impossible to reach the targets for minimum levels of recycled content.

Join this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to discuss what circularity actually means and how a fair definition and practice, satisfying both consumers and industry, can be reached. Questions to be addressed include:
- What is a circular product? Can consumers play a role in the understanding and defining of 'circularity'? And how can we define terms such as greenwashing, downcycling, high-quality recycling?
- Can the Commission’s PPWR proposal ensure that the food and beverage industry can fully close the loop on their packaging?
- Does the PPWR do enough to enable each sector to close the loop on the packaging they put on the market?


Supported by:




Mattia Pellegrini, Head of Unit From Waste to Resources, DG ENV, European Commission

Delara Burkhardt MEP, Member ENVI Committee, European Parliament

Jean-Pierre Schweitzer, Deputy Policy Manager for Circular Economy, Senior Policy Officer for Textiles, European Environmental Bureau

Klára Hálová, Head of Water Category and Education Programme, Mattoni 1873


Mariam Zaidi


09:30 – 09:35 Welcome
09:35 – 09:50 Panellist statements
09:50 – 10:40 Discussion and Q&A
10:40 – 10:45 Closing statements


Ana Alexandrescu

Related article

EU Commission rejects priority industry access to recycled PET bottles

EU Commission rejects priority industry access to recycled PET bottles

The European Commission has rejected calls from the bottled water industry to reserve recovered PET bottles in priority for recycling into new food-grade plastics, saying this risked causing distortions on the market for secondary materials.