Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation

In the coming years, Europe faces major transformations to promote global sustainability. With the ambition of achieving a fully circular economy by 2050, it is clear that substantial efforts are needed. While this goal still seems a long way off, it is essential that action is taken now. On this page, we explore the first steps to be taken to achieve this sustainable shift and what your organisation can do to prepare for these profound changes.
The coming years will see numerous changes to transform the Netherlands into a circular economy. Many of these changes will result from new legislation, which will require companies to comply with new standards and practices. It is therefore crucial that companies prepare properly for the upcoming changes. 

One of the important aspects of these changes is the Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulations (PPWR). This legislation is designed to reduce the impact of packaging on the environment and promote recycling.  

In addition to understanding the PPWR, it is also essential for companies to invest in innovation and sustainable practices. This includes reviewing packaging materials and processes, implementing recycling programmes and exploring single-use alternatives. 

By looking ahead and acting proactively, companies can not only comply with upcoming legislation, but also contribute to a more circular economy and a healthier environment for future generations. 

What is the Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR)? 

The PPWR, an EU regulation, aims to reduce packaging waste, reduce harmful substances such as PFAS, promote material reuse and increase the use of recycled materials in plastic packaging. By complying with these regulations, companies can not only reduce their environmental footprint, but also contribute to a more sustainable future. 

Some key aspects of the PPWR include: 
  • Reduction of packaging waste 
  • Reduction of harmful substances 
  • Encouraging re-use and refill options 
  • Use of recycled materials 
  • Recyclability 

Reduction of packaging waste: 

  • Reducing packaging use (with targets of 5% by 2030, 10% by 2035 and 15% by 2040), with a focus on minimising excess packaging material and encouraging efficient use. 
  • Restriction of specific packaging formats from 2030, such as certain single-use plastic packaging, including packaging for unprocessed fresh fruits and vegetables under 1.5 kg, packaging for food and beverages served in cafes and restaurants, individual portions (such as condiments, sauces, cream, sugar), miniature packaging for toiletries and shrink wrap for suitcases at airports. 

Limitation of harmful substances: 

  • A ban on the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds or PFAS in food contact packaging to protect public health and the environment. 

Encouraging re-use and refill options: 

  • At least 10% of beverage packaging should be reusable by 2030 (excluding milk, wine and spirits), with incentives for producers to develop sustainable alternatives. 
  • By 2030, 10% of takeaway food and drink should be packaged in reusable packaging, with measures to encourage consumers to return this packaging for reuse. 
  • Introduction of deposit systems for single-use plastic and metal beverage containers to promote collection and recycling. 
  • Promotion of serving tap water (where available, free or at a minimal charge) in reusable or refillable containers, as a sustainable alternative to disposable bottles. 

Use of recycled materials in plastic packaging: 

  • By 2030, 10-35% recycled material should be used in plastic packaging (depending on material type), with incentives for producers to support the circular economy. 
  • By 2040, 50-65% recycled material should be used in plastic packaging (depending on material type), to reduce dependence on virgin raw materials and reduce carbon footprint. 


  • All packaging should be recyclable by 2030, with clear guidelines on design and materials to maximise recyclability. 
  • Performance criteria for packaging recyclability should be set for each packaging category and categorised into classes A, B or C to provide transparency for consumers and producers. 
  • After 1 January 2030, packaging classified as class C may no longer be placed on the market to promote sustainable alternatives. 
  • After 1 January 2038, packaging classified as class B may no longer be placed on the market, to accelerate the transition to fully recyclable packaging. 
Government compliance with the PPWR will be strictly enforced. This includes enforcement of the Essential Requirements for packaging, which already exist and will be further enforced with the introduction of the PPWR. These requirements apply to all parties putting packaging on the Dutch market, including importers and companies with their name, logo or mark on the packaging. They apply to consumer, sales and transport packaging (primary, secondary and tertiary packaging). The Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) will enforce these regulations, with appropriate sanctions for non-compliance. For more information, please visit https://www.essentieleeisen.nl/.

Publication date: 04-02-2024

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