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Transposing EU legislation - what do member states need to do?

Transposing EU legislation - what do member states need to do?
by Annis Mapleston at 13:19 in Circular Economy, Emerging, Environmental, Packaging

​In the past five years, the European Commission has placed ever increasing emphasis on the need for the circularity of resources, and has published / amended a number of Directives to reflect this.

circular economy.jpg
In 2018, the European Council adopted the Circular Economy Package, which included amendments to the Waste Framework Directive (2018/851), the Landfill Directive (2018/850) and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (2018/852). In 2019, these documents were supplemented by the Single Use Plastics Directive (2019/904).

Waste Framework Directive

Providing the overarching framework for waste management across the EU, this Directive defines what is meant by 'the circular economy' and sets targets for reuse and recycling rates across the Union. It also explains the concept of extended producer responsibility, outlines minimum operating requirements for EPR schemes and sets the expectation that EPR fees should be modulated wherever possible.

Landfill Directive

​This Directive sets out the expectation that recyclable materials should only be sent to landfill under very specific circumstances by 2030, and sets targets for reducing the quantities of waste being sent to landfill. While not directly impacting on packaging and packaging waste, it nevertheless explains the increasing drive for member states to improve overall reuse and recycling rates. As packaging is one of the main components of household waste, these reductions will not be possible without improving the reuse and recyclability of packaging.

Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive

Focused on preventing the production of packaging waste in the first place, and then on increasing reuse and recycling rates, this Directive sets out a number of measures that member states could take, including:

  • Use of incentives through EPR schemes (e.g. bonus and penalty fees);
  • Deposit return schemes for bottles and other packaging;
  • Establishing minimum percentages of reusable packaging to be placed on the market;
  • Identifying minimum percentages of recycled content to be used in certain types of packaging.

Single Use Plastics Directive
This Directive introduces a range of measures that are aimed at reducing waste from products most commonly found in marine environments and beaches. It includes:
  • ​Bans on specified products, such as straws, cotton bud sticks and expanded polystyrene food / beverage containers;
  • EPR for other products (e.g. wet wipes);
  • Mandatory minimum levels of recycled content in beverage bottles.​

As these are Directives rather than Regulations, member states are free to decide on the best way to transpose them into their national law. However, the Circular Economy Package amendments were due to be transposed into national law by July 2020, and the Single Use Plastics Directive must be transposed by July 2021. The Directives set out the minimum standard expected: member states may of course decide to go further, for example by setting more challenging targets.

Some countries (such as France and Italy) have more or less completed this process, whilst others have yet to publish final legislation.
If you would like to discuss how these Directives and their transposition into the law of one or more member states might affect you, please contact us to talk to one of our consultants.

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