The European Commission is exploring the possibility of replacing the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) with a Regulation. The legal basis for such a Regulation would be the internal market article of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This move is being considered because the numerous national measures in many areas, such as labelling and reuse, have led to a "potential fragmentation of the internal market”, said Mattia Pellegrini, head of the Waste Management & Secondary Materials unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment (DG Environment), speaking at an online panel discussion last week. The event was organised by Politico Live in cooperation with Fefco, the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers.
In conjunction with the upcoming revision of the PPWD, the EU Commission is investigating the use of a Regulation as an instrument to create harmonisation and preserve the internal market, Mr Pellegrini said. He pointed out that the Commission had taken this approach with the legislation on batteries and waste batteries. In that case, a "very old Directive” based on environmental law had been transitioned to a Regulation with the internal market legal basis. This would be even easier in the case of the PPWD, since its legal basis is already the internal market article, he explained.
After the previous revision of the PPWD in 2018 only focused on targets for recycling rates, the European Commission is now turning its attention to the areas of prevention and reuse, according to Mr Pellegrini. The recycling rates for certain packaging materials – paper, glass and metal – are high but there is a significant increase in overall packaging volumes. "It is one thing to ensure that the packaging is ultimately recycled but another to prevent this negative trend", according to the EU official.
Mr Pellegrini also confirmed that the Commission aims to present its proposal for the revision of the PPWD on 20 July as part of this year's second circular economy package. However, this timeline was subject to various factors, including the opinion from the European Commission’s Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB)....