Brewers urge MEPs to vote for a fairer and greener PPWR

Brewers urge MEPs to vote for a fairer and greener PPWR

The Brewers of Europe - News release

Strasbourg, November 21, 2023 – As MEPs today debate the draft Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) proposal ahead of their vote on November 22, The Brewers of Europe urge them to close loopholes that lead to unfair rules and more waste.

The PPWR aims to tackle packaging waste across the economy as the European Union lays the foundations for a truly circular economy. This is an ambition that The Brewers of Europe endorses: we have led the way in adopting the mantra of reduce, reuse and recycle in our production cycle and we are ready to continue playing our part.

However, the new PPWR rules should not threaten the EU’s Single Market or undermine its own sustainability aims. That, unfortunately, is the risk in the current draft which includes damaging exemptions for the wine and spirits sectors.

If left unchanged, this discrimination would not just distort the market, placing obligations and costs on some drinks companies but not on others, but would remove incentives for these sectors to cut their packaging. The PPWR should instead ensure Europe has a level playing field where all alcoholic beverages play by the same rules, with everyone contributing fairly to reach the targets.

Brewers do not seek unjustified sector-wide exemptions. We know that we all have to play a part in cutting packaging and packaging waste. No one should have a free pass,” says The Brewers of Europe Head of Operations Simon Spillane. If the EU is to meet its ambitions in terms of environmental sustainability, circularity and packaging waste reduction, it needs legislation that is strong and fair. MEPs can save the packaging rulebook. They can vote for a law that is fair for Europe and the environment.”

These exemptions from responsibility can be addressed on November 22 if MEPs back three amendments proposed by MEP Ivan Stefanec. Amendment 448 (or a split vote on the ENVI committee’s amendment 201 that allows the unjustified exemptions to be removed) ensures that the measures set for the beer sector also apply to others on packaging reuse targets. Amendments 447 and 449 help ensure obligations around national deposit return systems (DRS) cover all drinks sectors whenever they choose to use cans or plastic bottles.

The current measure offers a full exemption on reuse targets to wines and sparkling wines, with wines and spirit drinks also excluded from obligations around the collection for recycling of any cans and plastic bottles they use. This is unjustifiable from an environmental perspective and unfair from a market standpoint.

That is why the beer sector urges MEPs to back the amendments tabled by Ivan Stefanec and a cross-party coalition of other MEPs, thereby ensuring measures apply across the alcoholic drinks sectors, setting targets of 10% for 2030 and 25% for 2040 for the percentage of beverages that should be made available in reusable packaging.

When it comes to deposit return systems, these are well-established, well-functioning systems in place in many countries across the world, often already incorporating all beverages and encouraging more people to recycle drinks containers, such as bottles and cans. The current version of the PPWR provides a full exemption from DRS for wine, aromatised wine products and spirit drinks. And once again no environmental or market justifications have been given for these trade-distorting proposals. The amendments address this by removing these exemptions.

These are just three amendments, but they could make a huge difference in ensuring that the PPWR works as planned. That is why The Brewers of Europe urge MEPs to vote for them.

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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.