On 30 November the European Commission released its long-awaited proposal for a regulation on packaging and packaging waste. Under the new proposal single use plastic packaging, single use composite packaging or other single use packaging for fresh fruit and vegetables less than 1.5kg will be banned on the Single Market. Freshfel Europe is calling for sustainable and functional harmonized EU packaging rules for fresh fruit and vegetables under the proposal, but without disproportionate and discriminatory measures. No other food categories are specifically targeted in the Regulation, supposedly defining general rules for packaging to circulate on the Single Market.
Freshfel Europe is advocating for sustainability packaging efforts to be led through science-based solutions with true results for sustainability enhancement. The Association is not supportive of politically driven blanket bans, such as the proposal’s ban, that are not supported by due environmental footprint analyses.
Philippe Binard, Freshfel Europe General Delegate, said, “The fresh fruit and vegetable sector is committed to enhancing the category’s sustainability to help reach the EU’s climate neutrality target by 2050. We have proven this through our long use of the reusable pallet pool systems and recent investments such as in home compostable labels. However, EU packaging regulation must be proportionate and result in actual positive environmental benefits. EU packaging rules must reflect the sector’s needs to use functional and the most environmentally beneficial packaging to provide high quality and safe products to EU consumers for healthy, sustainable diets, without any unintended consequences such as food waste.”
Freshfel Europe is supportive of the proposal’s exemption given to the ban for fruit and vegetables where there is a demonstrated need to avoid water loss or turgidity loss, microbiological hazards or physical shocks. However, neither a list of exact products nor how these aspects should be demonstrated is defined. The Association is also supportive of the proposal’s mandate on the use of industrially compostable fresh produce labels with a two-year transition period.