Brewers look to EU capitals to save a fairer and greener PPWR

Brewers look to EU capitals to save a fairer and greener PPWR

The Brewers of Europe - News release

Strasbourg, November 22, 2023 – After MEPs today voted for a flawed draft Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) proposal, The Brewers of Europe calls on the EU’s Council of Ministers to close the loopholes that weaken the planned rules.

The PPWR aims to tackle packaging waste across the economy, but the version adopted by MEPs both discriminates against certain sectors and opens the door to more waste. Left unchanged, the PPWR will not just distort the EU’s Single Market but will remove incentives for favoured sectors to cut their packaging.

The PPWR’s original aim is to cut needless packaging in all areas of the economy, but the loopholes allow certain sectors, like wines and spirits, to be exempted from obligations on packaging reuse targets and national deposit return systems (DRS). MEPs were given a chance to address this by backing key amendments, but they rejected them in favour or a more discriminatory text.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom however, with the European Parliament finally agreeing a text that grants reuse exemptions for economic operators in situations where, for example, 85% of beer cans are collected and recycled. MEPs now also recognise the role for refill in achieving reuse targets. However, it was a missed opportunity to fix the other inconsistencies in the EU’s approach.

“Brewers are disappointed that this opportunity to level the playing field in packaging legislation was not taken,” says The Brewers of Europe Head of Operations Simon Spillane. “Whilst finally we have a text that won’t imply the dismantling of effective national recycling collection systems, unfortunately logic didn’t carry through into all decisions. We now look to EU Member States in the Council of Ministers to take the much-needed steps to uphold Europe’s environmental credentials. The EU needs strong and fair packaging legislation, not rules that give some sectors an unjustified free pass.”

Whilst Europe’s brewers have led the way in adopting the mantra of reduce, reuse and recycle in our production cycle and are ready to continue playing our part, the exemptions granted to other drinks sectors are unjustifiable from an environmental perspective and unfair from a market standpoint.

As the PPWR legislation moves to the EU’s Council of Ministers, brewers urge governments to step in to correct the flaws that will render the rulebook unfair and ineffective in dealing with the environmental challenges of packaging.


Simon Spillane, Head of Operations,

About The Brewers of Europe:

Based in Brussels, The Brewers of Europe brings together national brewers’ associations from 29 European countries and provides a voice to support the united interests of Europe’s 10,000+ breweries. The Brewers of Europe promotes the positive role played by beer and the brewing sector in Europe and advocates the creation of the right conditions to allow brewers to continue to freely, cost-effectively and responsibly brew and market beer across Europe. Follow us on Twitter and visit our website.