The EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) is the centrepiece of EU legislation on packaging and packaging waste aimed at improving the environmental performance of packaging and facilitating the correct functioning of the EU Internal Market.
In November 2022, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a review of the PPWD. How does this affect the home appliance sector and why is packaging important, in the first place? All this and more in our latest digital interview.
Today, EU rules on packaging strive to monitor and account for all packaging and packaging waste placed on the European market. These rules regulate on which packaging can be placed on the EU market, including packaging waste management and packaging waste prevention measures. All products must be compliant with essential requirements on the manufacturing and composition of packaging, the reusable/ recoverable nature of packaging and minimising hazardous materials in packaging.
The packaging of a product is an important factor for home appliance manufacturers to consider when analysing the full supply chain. From fridges to ovens, home appliances play an essential role across millions of Europeans' lives each day. When purchasing a new application, it is therefore imperative that these reach the consumer in perfect condition. “Improper packaging could in fact cause damages to the product which could also possibly be of harm for householders” explained Franziska Decker, APPLiA Environment Policy Officer. Any disruption to packaging rules could severely impede the smooth functioning of the entire sector, making the shift from a regulation to a directive a key priority for the industry.
In 2020, the amount of packaging waste generated was estimated at 177.2 kg per inhabitant in Europe. Clear room for improvement to reach a true circular economy. How to squash this number? To tackle the exponentially growing problem of packaging waste, increased use of sustainable materials and reduced amounts of energy and resources should go into the process of packaging products.
Importantly, to create a landscape where packaging waste reduces its impact on the environment, the European Commission must ensure that there is no compromise on the flow/standard of packaging across the supply chain at present when it comes to the safety of the appliance being delivered.
The arising of different requirements at the national level risks jeopardising the successfulness of the proposal and the ultimate circular economy targets. “Having different packaging systems creates significant barriers in the internal market,” Decker explained. Harmonising packaging regulations is an important part of this process, as it helps to ensure that products are safe and of a consistent quality throughout the EU.
In this sense, taking the current Directive to a Regulation will help to create a level playing field on packaging and the management of packaging waste at the Union level, all toward helping Europe achieve its set objective - a circular economy.