The food machinery and packaging machinery industry is directly affected by the consequences of the flood of regulations from Brussels and Berlin, which particularly holds true for the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) and its effects for the packaging machinery industry. Its unclear requirements are now leading to noticeable uncertainty in the market and thus to planning restraints among manufacturers and customers alike, says the VDMA.
"The reluctance to invest is now becoming increasingly apparent. Incoming orders in the packaging machinery industry for the period from January to September 2023 are down by 12 percent overall, with orders from abroad down by 17 percent. This is due to the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation," says Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association.
„Patchwork“of regulations not eliminated
In principle, the EU is pursuing the right objectives with this regulation, he adds. EU-wide harmonised and thus uniform packaging law requirements can make a significant contribution to a sustainable circular economy and hereby also strengthen the EU internal market. “However, there can still be no question of complete harmonisation of the legal requirements following the European Parliament's vote. Instead, the existing 'patchwork' of specific packaging regulations in the EU member states remains in place,” criticizes the VDMA Managing Director. This is because the EU member states have been given the right to introduce stricter national measures that go beyond the provisions of the regulation. “This was a missed opportunity to ensure clear framework conditions - with negative consequences for investments,” explains Clemens.
Some positive aspects of the regulation
Nevertheless, the current draft also contains some improvements, such as the removal of the ban on packaging for fruit and vegetables and disposable packaging for single portions in the HORECA sector, adds Clemens. The ban on certain packaging and materials would have had far-reaching consequences for many companies in the packaging machinery industry.
“The EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation is undoubtedly a challenge for our industry, but we also see it as an opportunity to promote sustainable innovation. Expertise in finding solutions for sustainable production and packaging is becoming a decisive competitive factor. Digitalisation is a driver and enabler for this,” summarises the Managing Director of the VMDA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association at BrauBeviale in Nuremberg.