The proposals are intended to minimise unnecessary packaging and waste, ban the use of forever chemicals in food packaging and set specific targets to lower the plastic packaging


European Parliament adopts new proposals to reduce, reuse and recycle packaging waste. (Credit: Pete Linforth from Pixabay)

The European Parliament has adopted new updated European Union (EU)-wide rules to fight against growing packaging waste and promote reuse and recycling.

The proposals are intended to minimise unnecessary packaging and waste and ban the use of forever chemicals in food packaging.

The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have cleared the report, which constitutes Parliament’s mandate for negotiations with EU governments. In total, 426 MEPs voted in favour, 125 against and 74 abstentions.

The regulation is also designed to set specific targets to lower plastic packaging.

MEPs seek to outlaw the sale of extremely thin plastic carrier bags, particularly bags less than 15 microns unless they are necessary for hygienic purposes or are used as the main container for loose food to reduce food waste.

Additionally, they suggested limiting the usage of specific single-use packaging designs, like the tiny hotel packaging for hygiene items and the shrink wrap used for luggage in airports.

The members also advocate for a ban on the use of Bisphenol A chemicals, also known as per- and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds, or PFASs, in food contact packaging.

MEPs also recommended that final distributors of beverages and take-out meals in the food service industry, like cafés, restaurants, and motels, should allow customers to bring their own containers.

All packaging must comply with the new regulations’ requirements, which will be outlined in secondary law, the parliament said.

MEPs urge EU member states to collect 90% of materials contained in packaging separately by 2029.

European Parliament rapporteur Frédérique Ries said: “By voting to ban “forever” pollutants in food packaging, the European Parliament has shown that it seeks to protect the health of European citizens.

“Regarding plastics, the contract has been fulfilled, since my legislative report tackles the heart of the issue by setting tougher waste reduction targets for plastic packaging.”

Following the adoption of its position by the European Council, the parliament is prepared to begin negotiations with national governments on the final version of the bill.