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EU Parliament Passes Stringent Packaging Laws

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In a decisive move, the European Parliament has passed new regulations aimed at significantly reducing packaging waste, setting ambitious reduction targets of up to 15% by 2040.

The legislation, part of efforts to harmonize market operations and promote a circular economy, includes measures to minimize the weight and volume of packaging, particularly for e-commerce and restricts empty space to 50%. It also mandates the phasing out of specific single-use plastics by 2030 and prohibits the use of harmful PFAS chemicals in food packaging.

The rules further promote the adoption of reusable and refillable containers; by 2030, retailers will need to offer options for consumers to use their own containers for beverages and takeaways, with a goal of making 10% of products available in reusable packaging. Additionally, all packaging, excluding materials like wood and textile, will need to meet strict recyclability criteria, and the EU aims for a 90% collection rate for single-use containers by 2029.

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These measures, heralded by rapporteur Frédérique Ries as a milestone in environmental legislation, are a response to increasing packaging waste, which has risen to 84 million tonnes annually. This legislation aims to curb the expected rise in waste per capita by 2030 and responds to citizen demands for sustainable practices, setting a global benchmark in waste reduction and recycling efforts.

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