2023: A new year, a new packaging playing field
By Elena Rotzokou, Global EPR Researcher
A new year is coming along with celebrations, presents, resolutions, and…packaging laws! 2023 is expected to be a busy year for environmental policymakers and distributors of packaging alike, as a slew of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and EPR-related legislation is coming into force. Here’s a look at some of the changes on the horizon.
Essential updates in France are anticipated. An amendment to the Environmental Code’s labelling requirements is placing greater emphasis on the packaging information provided by obligated distributors. Not only will importers and producers be prohibited from labelling compostable packaging as “biodegradable” or “environmentally friendly” from New Year’s Day onwards; relevant parties will also be obligated to submit data regularly on the characteristics of packaging they produce, in accordance with specific categories (reparability and durability, reusability, traceability, etc.). Additionally, the Code is publishing a report on bottle collection in January in preparation for the introduction of a national deposit return scheme.
Beginning on the 5th of January, Italy is reforming its EPR: subjects obligated under it will need to register with the National Register of Producers, to which they will thereafter need to submit, on an annual basis, financial statements, management reports, and a plan for the following year. The country is also transposing the EU Single Use Plastics Directive, requiring an EPR scheme to be implemented for manufacturers and importers of balloons, wet wipes, tobacco filters, and plastic fishing gear. Finally, a new law is introducing a proportional tax on manufactured single-use plastic products that will operate through a quarterly tax return submitted to the Customs Agency.
As for Spain, there may be a few things in store. The proposed draft of the Royal Decree on Packaging and Packaging Waste is a multi-pronged initiative. It proposes expanding the country’s existing EPR scheme, whereby obligated producers must register with a new governmental producer register. Commercial and industrial packaging, currently exempt from EPR, would also become subject to the country’s relevant scheme. As for recycling, the draft decree sets out particular targets, requiring all packaging to contain at least 30% recycled plastic by 2030. Detailed reuse targets have also been set out, with a desire for all reusable household packaging to reach 15% by 2030 and all reusable commercial and industrial containers to climb to 60% by 2035. The law would further require reusable packaging to indicate its reusable status, how it should be disposed of, and the symbol associated with the deposit return scheme or any system accrediting the EPR scheme. And there would be a ban on plastic packaging for fresh fruit and vegetables of a specific size. Another major law coming into force in January is a Plastic Tax (also known as the act on waste and contaminated soils for a circular economy.) The act will impose a tax of 0.45 euro per kilogram on any non-recycled plastic contained in specified packaging products. Moreover, for manufacturing and importing, it will be incumbent on taxpayers to report the amount of tax debt quarterly.
As for the UK, Scotland’s deposit return scheme is going live in August of 2023, with a target of achieving 90% collection rates by 2024.
As the new year rolls in, staying updated with incoming laws and amendments can be challenging without proper expert guidance. The Global EPR team at Ecoveritas has been thoroughly researching and keeping a record of imminent packaging regulations worldwide. You can consult with us, and with our ever-expanding International Packaging EPR Matrix, we can help you understand your obligations and avoid being caught out.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about our exclusive EPR Matrix.