European agreement on new packaging rules

European agreement on new packaging rules

The European Parliament has agreed on new rules to reduce, reuse, and recycle packaging. In the future, only up to half of the packaging used by ecommerce companies within the European Union may be empty.

A large majority of the European Parliament agreed on Wednesday on the packaging regulation. It aims to tackle the growing European waste mountain, harmonize the rules of the internal market, and promote the circular economy. The first plans for these packaging rules were made public at the end of 2022.


Every European citizen produces nearly 189 kilograms of packaging waste annually, according to figures from 2021 cited by European policymakers. “Without additional measures, this figure is expected to rise to 209 kilograms in 2030”, they state. The new rules include targets to reverse this trend; by 2030, the amount of packaging should have decreased 5 percent, by 2035 by 10 percent, and by 2040 by 15 percent.

The package mountain must have shrunk 15% by 2040.

EU countries must mainly limit the amount of plastic packaging waste. Certain types of plastic disposable packaging will be banned from January 1, 2030, including packaging for unprocessed vegetables and fruits, sugar packets, and mini shampoo bottles in hotels.

Ecommerce packaging

For grouped, transport, and ecommerce packaging, a maximum empty space ratio of 50 percent is set. Manufacturers and importers will also have to ensure that the weight and volume of packaging are minimized, the European Parliament states.

Recyclable packaging

The regulation sets specific objectives for 2030 regarding the reuse of packaging. Under certain conditions, EU countries may allow a deviation from these rules for a period of five years, addressing earlier criticism. The packaging regulation still needs to be approved by the Council and then enshrined in national legislations.

‘The regulation still needs to be approved by the Council.’

In the meantime, various ecommerce companies have taken steps to ship products without additional packaging and eliminate the use of plastic. For example, Amazon has started exclusively using recyclable packaging for deliveries in Europe.



Arjan van Oosterhout has been contributing to Ecommerce News Europe since the spring of 2023. He writes news articles for the website on a freelance basis.

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