Plastic packaging in restaurants, soap bottles in hotels, protective films for suitcases at the airport… The European Union agreed this Monday March 4 on a text aimed at greening its packaging with the ban on many plastic containers by January 1, 2030. Flagship measure: single-use plastic containers will be banned from catering, but only for food and drinks consumed on site. Paper and cardboard containers will remain authorized. In France, the law has already banned single-use packaging of any type since 2023 for on-site catering in restaurants with more than 20 seats.

Other single-use plastic containers are also banned at the same time: miniature bottles of soap or shampoo in the hotel industry, small sauce pods, protective films surrounding suitcases in airports, plastic packaging of unused fruits and vegetables. transformed… Likewise, ultra-light plastic bags will have to disappear, with a few exceptions. The text also prohibits the intentional addition of polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFAS, “eternal pollutants” deemed harmful) to food packaging.

MEPs and Member States agreed on this key text of the “Green Deal” which sets a target of reducing the volume of packaging waste in the EU by 5% by 2030 (compared to 2018), then 10% in 2035 and 15% by 2040. Above all, all packaging in the EU must be recyclable from 2030 and effectively recycled “at scale” by 2035, so as to encourage the growth of a circular economy, according to a parliamentary press release. This agreement must now be formally confirmed by the Twenty-Seven and the European Parliament in plenary before entering into force.

Considering that recycling is not enough, the legislation also sets binding levels of reuse (reuse or refill possible) of packaging for various sectors (e-commerce, household appliances, drinks, beer, etc.) by 2030.

The wine sector is exempt, as are microenterprises. Above all, exemptions have been made for States which both exceed their recycling objectives by at least 5 percentage points and are considered “on track to achieve their waste prevention targets”, according to a Council press release. of the EU. Likewise, cardboard or paper packaging is not targeted. Ways to satisfy Italy in particular, which fiercely defended the important recycling system in which it has invested.