The European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional agreement on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), which would require all packaging used in the EU to be recyclable, set restrictions on plastic packaging, and ban the use of per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS) in food contact packaging. Parliament and Council must formally approve the agreement before the requirements enter into force.

PPWR aims to improve the safety and sustainability of food packaging used in the EU, setting packaging reduction targets of 5 percent by 2030, 10 percent by 2035, and 15 percent by 2040. The agreement would ban certain single use plastic packaging formats—like packaging for unprocessed fresh fruit and vegetables, packaging for foods and beverages filled and consumed in cafés and restaurants, and individual portions (e.g., for condiments, sauces, creamer, sugar, and etc.)—beginning January 1, 2030. Very lightweight plastic carrier bags (below 15 microns), unless required for hygiene reasons or provided as primary packaging for loose food to prevent waste, would also be banned.

In light of growing evidence regarding the toxicity of PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” Parliament also secured the introduction of a ban on the use of the chemicals in food contact packaging.

Additionally, the agreement would encourage reuse and refill options for consumers by requiring the final distributors of beverages and takeout foods in the retail sector to offer consumers the option of bringing their own container. These businesses would also be required to offer 10 percent of all products in a reusable packaging format by 2030.