We brewers believe in the circular economy. We’ve been recycling and reusing for many decades. We support the EU’s sustainability agenda. So when we first heard about the plans for a comprehensive Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (#PPWR), it made perfect sense for us.
However, while the PPWR may have noble aims, the current proposal, with its ill-targeted measures and inconsistencies, contains many flaws. Indeed, as written, the PPWR could have the opposite effect to its aims.
What is wrong with it? It is often unhelpfully prescriptive, dismisses effective existing systems, disincentivises sustainability and discriminates against key sectors.
But MEPs can repair the proposal before it becomes law. They should ensure that:
It is non-discriminatory, proportionate and enforceable while preserving the Single Market.
- There is a level playing field amongst beer and other alcoholic beverages. Exemptions from reuse targets or mandatory DRS for all alcoholic beverages other than beer would be legally and environmentally unjustifiable.
- Reuse targets are set at the manufacturer level, with producers able to meet the targets across their product and packaging portfolio.
- Beer kegs are recognised as sustainable sales packaging and their sheer size is considered in the re-use target calculation.
- Exemptions to support packaging sustainability are included. Many small businesses already have packaging lines that are recyclable, but non-reusable – they might not have the capacity to add new ones. Reuse targets should not be inflicted on beverage producers whose packaging is already collected and recycled at a high rate.
- Mandatory labelling is clear. Deposit labels should be the only ones appearing on deposited packaging, rather than additional sorting logos that merely confuse the consumer.
- Any restrictions or outright bans on 100% recycled and recyclable packaging formats should be evidence-based.
- There is a realistic and clear timeline to implement the new law, only once the implementing legislation is clear, to guarantee a smooth transition to the enforcement of the new rules.
These are simple yet vital changes. By backing them, MEPs can help fix the draft PPWR to ensure the measures are fair for brewers, citizens and the environment.