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PPWR is committed to more reusable use. How the Logistikbude helps companies implement

Steffen Brand
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How emerging laws and regulations are changing the packaging industry and what added value the logistics shop offers your company in the process.

Anyone who is currently involved in the packaging industry or is responsible for the packaging sector in their company will not be able to avoid THE trending topic par excellence recently and especially these days — the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, in short PPWR. The PPWR is part of the European Union's Green Deal and is a regulation that sets rules for packaging and its disposal. It is the successor to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive adopted in 1994 and is intended to make the packaging sector throughout the EU more environmentally sustainable.

Die drei zentralen Ziele der Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, kurz PPWR, im Überblick.

At this stage, everyone should be well aware of why the issue of sustainability concerns us all. The importance of environmental sustainability in terms of packaging and load carrier management has already been discussed in a previous blog post (see: The symbiosis of sustainability and load carrier management). This article will now take another look at the topic, this time focusing on the relevant laws and regulations for the industry.

In order to achieve the climate goals, legislation at federal and EU level plays a decisive role and repeatedly proves to be one of the biggest drivers for the ecological restructuring of existing processes in society and industry. In recent years, a large number of new or newly issued regulations, directives and laws have been passed. These include, for example, the Circular Economy Act, that Single-Use Plastics Fund Act, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive Or even the new German packaging amendment.

The initial effects of these laws on everyday life for end users are already being seen. The use of noodle or glass straws instead of plastic in your favorite cocktail bar and the increased range of reusable to-go cups in the café around the corner is likely to have been noticed. These are just two examples that can be traced back to the above laws and regulations. In addition to these visible and noticeable changes for consumers, the B2B sector is also increasingly being regulated. An EU regulation in particular presents many companies with new, unprecedented challenges.

PPWR as a driver for B2B reusable

Die EU Flagge mit der PPWR im Vordergrund

PPWR — these four letters have hovered over many companies like a sword of Damocles since the first draft was published at the end of November 2022. After a long period of back and forth and some adjustments through various political decision-making and coordination processes, there is now clarity. However, there is no sigh of relief in the industry. The PPWR is coming — and with it, significant regulations for the management of packaging in companies.

Quite recently, the regulation was adopted in March this year — the last outstanding approvals are considered a formality. While primary packaging (such as chip bags or shampoo bottles) focuses more on recycling-oriented design and smaller packaging, in the area of packaging and load carriers, the focus topic of reusable packaging is clearly in the foreground. As a result of the PPWR, there will be significantly stricter requirements for companies in the future.

In concrete terms, this means new obligations such as the obligation to participate in collection and recycling programs and the labelling requirement for the associated requirement for traceability of all packaging used. In general, there is a shift from disposable towards reusable use for the B2B sector in the PPWR — disposable is increasingly being replaced by reusable.

For example, a minimum number of cycles or cycle passes that packaging must be guaranteed to complete is to be introduced. The fixed reusable quotas will be particularly drastic for many B2B companies. According to the regulation, transport and sales packaging used within the Union and all packaging used in domestic B2B transport must have a Reusable rate of 100% fulfill.

Even though the last word doesn't seem to have been said here yet, one thing is clear: The reusable quota will come — in whatever exact form! And further: Like its predecessor, the PPWR does not come as a guideline, but directly as a law! It is therefore directly applicable in all EU Member States without the need to implement it into national law. Each company will then have to be responsible for compliance with the PPWR regulations and be responsible for detailed reporting on corporate activities in this area. In September this year, the text will be published in the Official Journal of the EU. After 18 months — speak In the middle of 2026— the regulations then come into force. It's time to act!

Auflistung der Anforderungen an B2B Unternehmen, die mit der PPWR einhergehen

What approach are we taking as a logistics shop in this context?

Clearly, we are helping companies comply with regulations relating to secondary and tertiary packaging. Because against the backdrop of the new legislation, it is clear that many companies will face further challenges in terms of managing load carriers. The main trigger for these challenges is the focus on reusable issues in the PPWR for the B2B sector. In order to address the issue of reusable packaging, it is not enough to focus solely on physical packaging.

The implementation of an appropriate reusable system, including digital imaging and management of packaging, is essential, taking into account the increasing need for information on packaging. Experience has shown that we can say with certainty across industries that the current management of load carriers and the transparency that exists today make it impossible to meet the requirements. This is exactly where we come in as a logistics shop and enable companies to digitally manage their reusable PPWR compliant. We offer solutions for all aspects: From the required labeling requirement, origin information and traceability of used packaging, to general support in managing collection and reusable systems, to relevant KPIs — everything from a single source thanks to a logistics booth. Our tool already provides proof of the required number of individual packages in circulation. This option can serve as a starting point for further indicators that are specifically geared towards sustainability in the load carrier and packaging sector.

There is certainly much more to write about the PPWR and the other “sustainability laws” that are otherwise only briefly mentioned here. However, this would go too far at this stage. What is undoubtedly certain is that PPWR is a current and highly relevant topic. It is already raising companies' awareness of reusable use, but at the same time presents them with significant challenges — it is high time to actively address this!

Would you like to talk to us about PPWR or any other topic?

The logistics shop not only offers its customers an intuitive and ready-to-use software solution for managing all reusable assets. We are also happy to contribute our many years of experience in the packaging world at Fraunhofer IML to a non-binding exchange, a digital coffee or at events. Get in touch at any time via the contact form. We are looking forward to getting to know you.

Teamfoto, Stand April 2024, mit Mitarbeitern und Mitarbeiterinnen der Logistikbude