Legislation 14.2.2023

What do our MEPs say about the new EU Packaging Waste Regulation?

The European Commission’s proposal for the new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation was published late last year. Ultimately it is the MEPs who decide on regulation – keep reading to see some of their thoughts on the regulation.

By Anna Mäkelä

Kuva Elsi Katainen, Petri Sarvamaa, Henna Virkkunen

Elsi Katainen (the Centre Party)

Packaging extends the shelf life, quality and transferability of food products and is, therefore, at the heart of security of supply. Sustainable, renewable and recyclable packaging reduces food waste, which is a serious problem across the world, including Europe. The trend of increasing recycling and reducing packaging waste is good, but legislation must also leave room for innovation.

The best environmental solutions can be found by taking into account scientific facts and the entire life cycle of packaging waste. I’m particularly concerned about the trend towards a return to the use of plastics, which can also be seen in the Commission’s proposal. The worst-case scenario would be to see future regulation increase the use of fossil-based materials. Legislation should encourage the realisation of the potential of bio-based materials instead.

The text is a translated part of a longer article: Elsin viikkokirje 3.2.2023 – elsikatainen.fi

Elsi Katainen

Photo: Elsi Katainen

Petri Sarvamaa (the National Coalition Party)

At first the idea doesn’t seem too bad: who hasn’t been annoyed to see a cardboard cup thrown into a ditch?

But the harsh reality is that people will continue to need single-use containers. Multiple-use plastic containers are to replace cardboard containers, although it’s not that long ago that the EU specifically wanted to reduce the amount of plastic we use – we just got rid of plastic straws, after all.

When people buy take-away meals at a fast-food restaurant, how likely are they to go back to the restaurant to return their cups? Exactly.

Whether the Commission wants to admit it or not at this stage, multiple-use plastic containers will eventually end up on the streets and in the sea.

The text is a translated part of a longer article: Komission uusi kirosana: pahvimukit – petrisarvamaa.eu

Petri Sarvamaa

Photo: Petri Sarvamaa

Henna Virkkunen (the National Coalition Party)

A few years ago, the European Union wanted to reduce the use of plastic, and this has been a good trend. Plastic is now making a comeback, even if it may not be the best alternative for the environment.

Replacing fibre-based single-use containers with multiple-use containers may even increase carbon dioxide emissions. Consumption of both energy and water will increase due to washing multiple-use dishes. In a life cycle assessment carried out by Ramboll, paper-based cups did better than plastic cups.

A cardboard cup will be a sustainable alternative in many circumstances as long as it’s made from sustainably grown wood and properly sorted and recycled. It’s unfortunate that the EU Commission does not seem to recognise fibre recycling.

The text is a translated part of a longer article: Kuitupohjaiset tuotteet huomioitava pakkausasetuksessa – hennavirkkunen.fi

Henna Virkkunen

Photo: Henna Virkkunen

We searched all Finnish MEPs’ websites and Twitter profiles for their views on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive for this article, and we will continue to update it. The debate will continue in Parliament this spring.