Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation Adopted

The Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on a proposal for a regulation on packaging and packaging waste.

The proposal aims to boost sustainability by mandating recyclable packaging, minimizing harmful substances, and promoting harmonisation in package labelling for consumers. Additionally, the regulation seeks to significantly reduce packaging waste through binding reuse targets, restrictions on single-use packaging, and requiring businesses to minimize overall packaging use.

The key measures from the legislation impacting hospitality include:

  • Coffee capsules used in hotel rooms will continue to be accepted as long as they are recyclable e.g. in aluminium.
  • Restrictions on single use packaging while eating in are limited to single use plastic packaging such as cups, plates, single serve sauces, condiments coffee creamers.
  • Restriction on single use hotel cosmetics is not limited to plastic and fails to provide clear and workable guidelines to businesses. The ban targets “single use accommodation sector packaging intended for an individual booking” with no indication on weight and volume nor a definition of cosmetics.
  • These restrictions will be applicable from 1 January 2030 and member states will be able to exempt micro enterprises.
  • Obligation linked to refill includes the right to refuse if operators deem the container unhygienic or unsuitable and bear no liability for hygiene or food safety issues that may arise from the use of containers provided by the end user. From 1 January 2030, final distributors with a sales area of more than 400m2 shall endeavour to dedicate 10% of that sales area to refill stations for both food and non-food products.
  • Caution will be required on the type of information our businesses will have to display on refill.
  • Reuse targets on food and beverage takeaway have disappeared and various derogations linked to waste prevention and recyclability rates of member states are available.
  • Refill obligation for the beverage & food takeaway sector: Final distributors shall offer the goods filled in the container brought by the consumer at no higher costs than single use packaging.
  • Reuse offer for the beverage & food takeaway sector: Final distributors shall offer the goods filled in reusable packaging at no higher costs, and in no less favourable conditions than the sales unit consisting of the same goods and single use packaging.
  • Regarding the provision of drinking water in hospitality establishments, the final wording is softer than an obligation, foresees that “Member States shall incentivise restaurants, canteens, bars, cafés and catering services to serve their customers, where available, tap water for free or for a low service fee, in a reusable or refillable format.”

About the Mediterranean Observer

The Mediterranean Observer is a news portal dedicated to travel tourism, and hospitality in the Mediterranean region. This portal is managed by the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation, based in the Mediterranean country of Malta.