Brewers urge EU to ensure fair packaging rules

Brewers urge EU to ensure fair packaging rules

The Brewers of Europe - News release

Brussels, December 17, 2023 – The EU’s draft Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) still contains discriminatory measures that undermine both fairness and sustainability, yet ministers at the EU’s Environment Council in Brussels tomorrow (Monday) can correct it.

Brussels, December 18, 2023 – The European Union can and must improve its planned Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), following the agreement by ministers at the EU’s Environment Council in Brussels today on a “general approach” to the negotiations.

While the Environment Council agreed by qualified majority to a negotiating mandate, the legislation can still be changed to ensure a level playing field when it comes to alcoholic drinks packaging. There is no reason for beer to be subjected to targets on reuse and deposit return system rules while other sectors like wines and spirits are exempt.

In the open session at the Council, Poland and Slovakia explicitly called for a level playing field under Article 26, with Slovakia pointing to the discriminatory treatment of beer. Others, like the Netherlands, called for fairness in the legislation, while Austria spoke out against further exemptions and Belgium said beers should be exempted in the same way as wine.

Europe’s brewers urge the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission to consider these concerns as they head into the trialogues on the PPWR. The lack of a level playing field is discriminatory and, as currently written, the rules do not align with ECJ rulings and the EU’s Single Market basics of fair treatment amongst competing products, such as beer and wine.

The Brewers of Europe Head of Operations Simon Spillane said the EU’s principles of fair competition amongst “substitutable” products were at stake in the PPWR. “If the packaging legislation is to be fair and effective it needs a level playing field when it comes to reuse targets and deposit return systems,” he said. “If this is not addressed, then brewers will be the only major alcoholic drink sector facing these extra demands and costs. That would be an egregious discrimination: the exemptions should be dropped completely or applied to all. That is why we hope the final text will deliver a fair and legally consistent rulebook.

The Brewers of Europe support the overall aims of PPWR. Europe’s beer sector is proud of its record on sustainability. We lead the way in reducing, reusing and recycling. The EU now needs to ensure a fair regulatory framework that encourages brewers and other sectors to continue to step up in support of cutting packaging waste.


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.