EU moves a major step closer to DRS across the continent

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The regulation is designed to fight increasing packaging waste in the EU and reach EU targets of zero carbon emissions by 2050. As an EU regulation it has binding legal force in every EU member state. The PPWR requires all packaging to be recyclable, will minimize the presence of harmful substances, reduce unnecessary packaging, increase recycled content and improve collection and recycling through deposit return schemes.

The PPWR mandates 90% collection rates for plastic bottles and cans up to 3 liters by 1 January 2029 using mandatory deposit return schemes (DRS) unless a member state has achieved minimum 80% collection rate through a separate system in 2026 and can present a path to reach minimum 90% collection rate. The regulation mandates minimum recycled content of 25% in PET bottles by 2025 and 30% by 2030, effectively driving demand for sorted and clean material streams. With 14 of the 27 EU member states already having introduced DRS, the PPWR is expected to be a catalyst for other EU countries to adopt deposit return schemes.