European Parliament revises packaging directive
Last week, the European Parliament voted in favor of a revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. According to the revision, all packaging needs to be reusable or recyclable by 2030. The revision has been criticized by several parties, since the EU has not set uniform logistics standards across Europe so far.
So far, online sellers have been experimenting with recyclable and reusable packaging on their own volition. Amazon, for example, has started exclusively using recyclable packaging for deliveries in Europe.
10% of shipments in closed system
According to the new revision, the European Parliament will provide reusable quotas for packages. By 2030, ten percent of all shipments should be sent in a closed system. This means that packaging needs to be reused, indicating that consumers will need to return the packaging even when they keep all products that were included in the order.
‘We see the return of reusable packaging as problematic in cross-border ecommerce.’
“As long as there are no uniform reusable solutions across the European Union, we see the return of reusable packaging as problematic, particularly in cross-border ecommerce”, writes the German association of ecommerce, Bundesverband E-commerce und Versandhandel (Bevh).
‘Empty packaging shipping across Europe’
“If it is not guaranteed that reusable packaging is accepted across service providers within the EU, we do not consider it acceptable to permanently send empty packaging shipping across Europe in cross-border trade. Returns are caused even if the customer keeps the item”, says Christoph Wenk-Fischer, General Manager at Bevh.
‘Returns are caused even if the customer keeps the items.’
A solution to this problem could be the inclusion of logistics providers or postal companies. In that case, consumers could return the reusable packaging materials to the delivery person at the door. However, the Bevh states that there currently are no standardized logistics processes in place to make this returns process as easy as possible.
Negotiations with European Council
It still remains to be seen how and when the revision will be implemented. The European Parliament has now voted in favor, but still needs to negotiate with the European Council. So far, the European Council has not yet adopted the Parliament’s position on this revision.