On 4 March 2024 the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on a new Regulation on Packaging and Packaging Waste (the “Regulation“).  The Regulation will replace the current Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive 94/62/EC, aiming to reduce packaging waste and introducing a range of sustainability measures including a requirement for all packaging to be recyclable by 2030.

The Regulation is an integral part of the European Green Deal and the EU Circular Economy Action Plan and is seen as key to helping the EU transition to a more sustainable and resource-efficient economy.  Crucially, the Regulation contains progressive targets for reducing packaging waste, requiring Member States to achieve, as compared to 2018, a 5% reduction by 2030, a 10% reduction by 2035 and a 15 % reduction by 2040.

Key features of the Regulation

Sustainability and manufacturing requirements, including:

  • A requirement for all packaging to be recyclable by 2030. 
  • Minimum percentage requirements for recycled content in plastic packaging which will be required from 2030, increasing substantially from 2040.
  • Restrictions on certain chemicals (including PFAS) being used in food contact packaging. 
  • Restrictions on the amount of empty space permitted in packaging, and ensuring that the weight and volume of packaging are minimised.

Re-use targets and re-fill obligations, including:

  • Minimum percentage targets for the re-use of a number of types of packaging by 2030 with indicative targets for 2040.  These targets cover certain types of transport packaging, grouped packaging as well as sales packaging for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (with exclusions for wines, milk and certain other beverage types). 
  • An obligation for take-away businesses to offer customers the possibility to bring their own food and beverage containers to be filled at no extra charge.
  • An obligation for take-away businesses to endeavour to offer 10% off products in re-usable packaging from 2030.

Deposit return systems, including:

  • Requirements for member states to set up a deposit return system and collect at least 90% of single-use plastic bottles and metal beverage containers by 2029.

Restrictions on certain packaging formats, including:

  • Restrictions on certain types of single-use plastic packaging, including for fruit and vegetables, food and beverages, condiments within the HORECA sector, and miniatures packaging used for cosmetics and toiletries in hotels.  These restrictions will add to the restrictions on single use plastic already provided in the Single Use Plastics Directive. 

Business impact and next steps

All packaging placed on the EU market will be caught by the Regulation, with different obligations applicable to packaging manufacturers, suppliers, importers, distributors, and fulfilment service providers.  This Regulation will be relevant to any business selling packaged goods and imposes a number of strict requirements. 

The trialogue negotiation process has been fraught with many reporting an unprecedented level of lobbying from all sides.  Most businesses will, however, no doubt be pleased that there is now some clarity on the future EU packaging regime to help guide the sustainability journeys that many will have already embarked upon. 

It is important to remember that the provisional agreement still needs to be approved and formally adopted by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament before it can be published in the Official Journal and enter into force. 

The Regulation will be applied from 18 months after it enters into force.

Additional resources

For more information on important legal developments relating to product regulation and liability, visit our Product Risk Radar here


Graham Stuart is a partner in Baker McKenzie's London office specialising in product regulation and environmental, health and safety law. Graham advises on the regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, chemicals, food, and a wide range of consumer and industrial products, acting for clients in connection with global integrations and reorganisations; product manufacturing, marketing, supply and distribution; EU and UK product authorisation regimes; non-conformities, regulatory investigations and prosecutions. His practice also covers operational environmental, health and safety matters for industrial and manufacturing facilities; the assessment and management of environmental risk in complex multi-jurisdictional projects, mergers and acquisitions; and climate change law and emissions trading.


Rachel MacLeod is an Associate in Baker McKenzie's London office. She advises companies on the "cradle-to-grave" regulation of a broad range of products sold on the EU and UK markets and also advises companies on how to comply with their operational environmental and health & safety obligations.