This afternoon, European Commissioner Frans Timmermans will present a new plan on behalf of the European Commission to eliminate unfriendly packaging. For example, there should be a limit on oversized boxes from electronic stores, but also that disposable bottles of shampoo and body wash are no longer allowed in hotels. This is what the Dutch newspaper “Volkskrant” wrote.
The intention is that the amount of waste we all dispose of will get a lot smaller. The amount of packaging waste per EU citizen is around 180kg a year and growing, according to the Commission’s still-secret proposal.
The Commission notes that 40% of the plastic and half of the paper used in Europe is for packaging. Overall, packaging materials now make up 36 percent of waste. If nothing changes, this mountain of waste will continue to grow, especially now that people are buying more and more online. This is not only a waste of raw materials, but also causes pollution (water and soil) and carbon dioxide emissions.
Boxes from web stores and disposable cups
Timmermans and fellow environmentalist Virginius Sinkevicius’ plan includes first and foremost banning oversized boxes from online stores. For convenience, a standard size box is often used for items delivered to your home, but in the future only 40 percent empty space will be allowed.
But the paper knows that plans go further. Timmermans also compete with disposable cups from coffee shops. Milk and coffee cups or milk powder in sachets? They are forbidden. Just like sachets of ketchup and mayonnaise in a deep fryer.
Finally, food and drink packaging in supermarkets must become increasingly sustainable. For example, within seven years, ten percent of beer bottles must be refilled. In 2040 it should be twenty percent.
The new rules are likely to encounter resistance from member states and industries. Unlike many citizens, they are not waiting for – and complying with – stricter legislation to prevent waste.
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