EU proposal aims to make use of recyclable and reusable packaging obligatory

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 July, 2023 at 12:48 pm by Andre Camilleri

The Malta Business Bureau (MBB) presented an assessment report on the European Commission’s proposal to establish a Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR).

The EU PPWR proposal aims to make packaging more sustainable by obliging the use of recyclable and reusable packaging, while also banning certain single-use formats such as miniature toiletry bottles and condiment sachets.

Direct feedback from businesses across all affected sectors and industries was gathered through in-depth interviews which are summarised within the report. This was presented during a meeting with the Minister for the Environment, Energy & Enterprise, Hon. Dr. Miriam Dalli.

MBB highlighted the main sentiment expressed by Maltese businesses to help contribute towards Malta’s positions during the negotiations currently taking place in Brussels.

MBB President Alison Mizzi affirmed, “Businesses certainly agree with the main objective of the proposal. Waste represents not only a loss of resources but also leads to environmental degradation, processing and transportation costs, and spatial challenges, especially given Malta’s limited available land. It is consequently in the interest of all actors, including businesses, to introduce measures which minimise waste where possible.” Mizzi added that along with the opportunities the proposal brings for more sustainable businesses, it also raises a number of challenges which MBB is assessing to facilitate implementation. 

The minister conveyed sincere appreciation to the MBB for their diligent efforts in producing the assessment report. Minister Dalli welcomed the fact that the business sector was recognising the detrimental impact of waste on the country’s precious resources and environment. “The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to addressing any pressing issues there might be,” Minister Dalli said.

Moreover, the minister encouraged both public and private sectors to work together towards a stronger environment and economy.

MBB Manager EU Policy (Sustainability) Gabriel Cassar presented the key outcomes of the report, highlighting aspects such as the need for further clarity in the proposal to ensure legal certainty, longer transition periods, and the need to better justify certain targets and bans from an environmental and economic perspective.

“The current proposal has a lack of specific information that will only be provided further down the line through supplementary legislation once the final text has been agreed”, Mr. Cassar commented. This includes the ‘Design for Recycling Criteria’ which will determine whether packaging may be considered recyclable. Such missing information makes it difficult for businesses to understand requirements being placed on them, as well as the associated costs.

Certain businesses may potentially be required to replace production and packaging lines to comply with new rules, with participating businesses quoting investment figures upward of EUR 200,000.

Another major sticking point shall be the modal shift towards the use of more reusable or refillable packaging and containers, especially in hospitality and catering establishments. By 2040, horeca establishments would be expected to serve 80% of hot and cold takeaway beverages and 40% of takeaway food in reusable or refillable containers. Businesses have consequently raised concerns over customer acceptance, hygiene, and other logistical challenges.

The proposal for a Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation is seen as one of the priority files in the EU’s green agenda. MBB has been working closely with national and EU policymakers to put forward the views and concerns of Maltese businesses. The meeting was also attended by MBB CEO Joe Tanti, Ministry officials, and representatives from the Environment & Resources Authority (ERA).

Those interested in further information are encouraged to contact the MBB EU policy team on  

The Malta Business Bureau is the EU business advisory organisation of The Malta Chamber and The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. It is also a partner of the Enterprise Europe Network.

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