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16 December 2022

Limiting the packaging

Protection guidance | Europe’s brewers support minimising packaging’s impact on the environment and will now work together with the European Parliament and Member States to ensure a final Regulation that is proportionate, well-targeted, non-discriminatory and coherent.

Europe’s brewers have a strong track record in packaging sustainability, taking their responsibility to limit the environmental impact of beer packaging throughout the life-cycle, reducing, reusing and recycling our packaging.

They therefore support the overall objective to minimise packaging’s impact on the environment and recognise the hard work and time that the European Commission has put in to come forward with a proposal moving from a Directive to an ambitious EU Regulation on what is a complex topic.

It is a co-work together with Member States and the European Parliament with the objective to ensure a final Regulation that is:

Proportionate - Overly prescriptive rules or governance should not provoke the dismantling of well-functioning existing collection systems, be they well-established reuse systems set up by the brewers in many countries or efficient recycling collection systems set up in others;

Well-targeted - Recalling the objectives set out in the EU Circular Economy Action Plan to make “all packaging reusable or recyclable in an economically viable way”, setting reuse targets at EU level can address the reality that different countries are at varying starting points with regard to the balance between reuse and recycling;

Non-discriminatory - The brewing sector should not be discriminated against and it would be neither legally nor environmentally justified to a priori grant an EU-mandated exemption, from reuse targets or mandatory DRS, for other alcoholic beverages;

Coherent - Whilst there remain uncertainties as a number of important decisions will be defined through secondary legislation, it will be important that issues such as the methodology for measuring progress recognise that, for example, a 50l beer keg cannot be treated as a comparable unit to a bottle or can.

Whilst meeting the targets and obligations laid down in any final legislation will be a challenge, the brewing sector’s commitment to a sustainable future for beer is real. The responsibility is recognized, within a good functioning EU Single Market, on an ambitious EU-wide environmental sustainability agenda, including for packaging and packaging waste.