Publication of the European Commission's draft regulation on packaging and packaging waste

December 23, 2022

The European Commission has just published on November 30, 2022 a draft Regulation that aims to replace Directives 2019/1020 and 2019/904, and to repeal Directive 94/62/EC. Such a regulation should allow, in the long run, to harmonize the rules put in place in Europe with regard to environmental protection and to ensure a coherent operation within the internal market. 

What are the objectives set out in this draft regulation?

The European Commission has established 3 main objectives in its draft regulation on packaging and packaging waste:

  1. Reduce the generation of packaging waste from the design stage
  2. Promote a circular economy for packaging, particularly through efficient recycling channels
  3. Promote the integration of recycled materials in packaging

What are the actions envisaged? 

In order to achieve these environmental goals, the actions in the proposed regulations address: 

  • Elimination of excessive packaging
  • The introduction of quantitative objectives and requirements to be respected in order to encourage the reusability of packaging and the development of bulk sales
  • The introduction of quantitative targets for the incorporation of recycled materials
  • The design of packaging with recycling channels
  • Harmonization of product and waste container labeling to facilitate consumer recycling
  • The implementation of EPR - Extended Producer Responsibility

What are the next deadlines before the official text is published?

In a first step, all interested parties have until February 9, 2023 to comment on the draft. In a second step, the draft will go through the European Parliament and the Council. Once these two stages are completed, the final text will be published (this is not expected to happen before 2024).  

What are the impacts for the cosmetics industry? 

Article 5 : substances in packaging

SVHC substances must be minimized in packaging. With revised limits largely downwards for some Heavy Metals. 

Article 6: Recyclability

All packaging must be recyclable.

A package can be considered recyclable if it meets the following conditions:

(a) it is designed for recycling ;

(b) it is subject to effective and efficient separate collection

(c) they are sorted into defined waste streams without affecting the recyclability of other waste streams

(d) they can be recycled so that the resulting secondary raw materials are of sufficient quality to replace the primary raw materials

(e) they can be recycled on a large scale.

From January 1, 2030, packaging will also have to comply with the delegated acts that will give requirements for design and recycling.

 Article 7: Incorporation of recycled materials

From January 1, 2030, the plastic part of a package must contain a minimum percentage of recycled content, per unit of packaging: (compostable packaging not concerned)

- 30% for contact-sensitive packaging (including cosmetic packaging) whose main component is polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

- 10% for contact-sensitive packaging made from plastic materials other than PET, except for single-use plastic beverages.

As of January 1, 2040, the plastic portion of a package must contain a minimum percentage of recycled content, per packaging unit: (compostable packaging not concerned)

- 50% for contact-sensitive packaging (including cosmetic packaging), except for single-use plastic beverages

- 65% for other plastics, and single-use plastic drinks 

By 31 December 2026, the Commission is empowered to adopt implementing acts establishing the methodology for the calculation and verification of the percentage of recycled content.

No later than January 1, 2028, the Commission shall evaluate the need for exemptions from the minimum percentage.

As of January 1, 2029, the calculation and verification of the percentage of recycled content in packaging must comply with the defined rules.

From January 1, 2030: the financial contributions paid in the framework of EPR will be modulated according to the percentage of recycled material used in the packaging.

Article 8: compostable packaging

Requirements are given for certain packaging to be compostable

Article 9: Reduction of packaging

The packaging should be designed to keep its weight and volume to the minimum necessary to ensure its functionality.

Packaging that is not necessary to meet any of the performance criteria (defined in Annex IV) will be prohibited.

 Article 10: Reusable packaging

Packaging is considered reusable if it meets the following conditions:

- It has been designed, engineered and marketed to be reused or recharged, and to accomplish as many trips or rotations as possible under normally foreseeable operating conditions.

- It can be emptied or unloaded without damaging the packaging

- It can be emptied, discharged or recharged while guaranteeing compliance with the applicable safety and hygiene requirements and without risk to the health and safety of the persons in charge of doing so

- It may be reconditioned in accordance with Annex VI, Part B while retaining its ability to perform its intended function;

- It can be emptied, unloaded, refilled or reloaded while maintaining the quality and safety of the packaged product and allowing the attachment of a label and the provision of information on the properties of this product and on the package itself, including any relevant information to ensure the safety, proper use, traceability and shelf life of the product

- It meets the specific requirements for recyclable packaging when it becomes waste, as set out in Section 6.

 Article 11: Reusable packaging: Labeling of packaging

Specific labeling provisions are provided:

- Labeling of the composition of the packaging (material), within 42 months after publication of the regulation. Transport packaging is concerned, but e-commerce packaging is also concerned (packaging used for the transport of e-commerce products).

- A specific labeling will also have to be defined in the case of deposits.

- The packaging must be labeled with the possibility of reuse, and a QR code (or other system) giving additional information on reuse, collection points, a system to facilitate the calculation of rotations.

In addition, reusable sales packaging must be clearly identified and distinguished from single-use packaging at the point of sale.

- Specific provisions are then indicated in the case of displaying the percentage of recycled material, as well as on how the QR code should be displayed (clear, legible, etc.), on the implementation of harmonized format, etc. Labeling rules will also be defined for waste containers.

- The use of logos or labels that could be confused with the characteristics of the packaging,

of sorting, etc. are prohibited.

Article 13, 14 16: obligation of manufacturers, packaging suppliers, importers, distributors, etc.

Manufacturers and importers must ensure the conformity of their packaging placed on the market. The traceability of packaging must be ensured. The technical files defined in Annex VII and the declaration of conformity must be kept for 10 years. They must respond to requests for conformity from Member States within 10 days. The documents must be provided to the authorities (paper or electronic format) in a language easily understandable by the Member State.

Packaging suppliers will need to provide the necessary information to their customer (paper or electronic format).

Distributors must ensure that manufacturers and importers comply with the requirements, and in particular that the products are labeled correctly. If the distributor considers that the packaging is not compliant, it must not put it on the market, ensure that corrective measures are put in place and inform the authorities.

Article 21: Obligation towards excessive packaging

Economic operators who supply products to a final distributor or end user in grouped packaging, transport packaging, ensure that the empty space rate is a maximum of 40%.

Spaces filled with filler materials such as paper cutouts, air cushions, bubble wrap, foam, are considered empty space.

Article 22: Restriction of certain formats

A list of packaging or packaging formats prohibited by January 1, 2030 has been defined (Annex V). This list includes in particular, concerning cosmetic products made available in hotels, the prohibition of the following formats

- < 50ml pour les produits cosmétiques liquides

- < 100g pour les produits non liquides

 This includes mini vials, mini soap sachets, etc.

 Article 23-24: Obligation for reusable packaging

Operators who place reusable packaging on the market shall ensure that a reuse system is in place (in accordance with the requirements of Article 10 and Annex VI).

Article 25: Obligation to fill/refill (bulk)

Operators who offer the possibility to purchase products through refills inform users of :

- Types of containers to use for refills

- Hygiene standards applicable to refilling

- The end-user's responsibility for health and safety in relation to the container used

The requirements for bulk sales are detailed in Appendix VI.

Article 46: recycling target

Recycling targets are given to each Member State, globally and by material, for two deadlines: December 31, 2025 and December 31, 2030.

Calculation methods are defined, as well as reporting requirements to the Commission.

For more information

Do not hesitate to consult this page which puts at your disposal all the elements relating to the draft regulation of the European Commission, namely 

  • the complete proposal for a regulation (and its annex)
  • the different summaries and reports of the European Commission project

Ensure your compliance with EcoMundo! 

Our team of international regulatory experts will help you review your cosmetic product portfolio and make the necessary adjustments to ensure and anticipate your compliance with future updates of the regulation by the European Commission .

I have a question!

For more autonomy, our experts invite you to discover the COSMETIC Factory tool, an AI-powered software that allows to continuously ensure the compliance of cosmetic and perfume products, and to secure their release on the international market. 

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