France and Italy both issued legislation aimed at reducing packaging waste.
In France, law No. 2020-105 introduces wide-ranging measures aimed at eliminating waste, encouraging reuse and recycling, and improving consumer information on environmental attributes of products and their packaging.
Several of the several rules that will affect personal care businesses include:
- Improving the collection of recyclable plastics by expanding refund systems.
- Decreasing household trash by 15% per inhabitant by 2030
- Decreasing waste from economic activity by 5%
- Recycling 100% of plastics by 2025
- Ending of single-use plastic packaging by 2040
- Prohibiting “biodegradable” or “respectful of the environment” claims on packaging
- Developing a mandatory methodology for environmental labeling
The law also introduces a ban on the destruction of unsold non-food inventory, including beauty products. Manufacturers, distributors, and stores with unsold inventory will be required to donate or recycle it instead of incinerating it or dumping it in landfills. The law also expands incentives for manufacturers to design their products to be more easily recyclable.
The current decree expands requirements for the “Triman” logo, which has been in use on product packaging since 2015, to include new categories of product and labeling of disposal methods.
Consequently, use of other recycling symbols such as the Green Dot were supposed to be terminated as of January 1, 2022. However, the French Supreme Administrative Court, the Conseil d’État, has granted urgent applications for the immediate suspension of the new French labelling regulation for packaging.
Der Grüne Punkt, PRO Europe, or “Packaging Recovery Organisation Europe”, an umbrella organisation for European packaging and the general licensor of the Green Dot trademark for Europe, and other influential associations of the French consumer goods industry have filed such urgent applications. The discrimination of the Green Dot mark associated with the French labelling Ordinance is thus suspended. The Green Dot is mandatory in Spain and Cyprus.
In Italy, legislative decree 116/2020 has come into force as of September 2020, amending Legislative Decree 152/2006 and implementing the European directive on waste (EU 2018/851) as well as the one on packaging and packaging waste (2018/852). This decree requires mandatory environmental labeling on each packaging.
The law states that all packaging must be appropriately labeled in accordance with the procedures established by the applicable UNI technical standards and in compliance with the decisions adopted by the European Union Commission.
The new labeling requirements are intended to facilitate the collection, reuse, recovery and recycling of packaging, as well as to provide correct information to consumers on the final destination of packaging. The alphanumeric code identifying the material represented by the Möbius cycle symbol must be affixed to the packaging of each product destined to the final consumer.
The new law requires manufacturers to indicate the nature of the packaging materials used, which will aid in the identification and classification of the packaging for recycling. It also states that the parts of the packaging that the consumer can separate manually without using tools must be labelled, such as a plastic bottle and its cap.
Both the French and Italian decrees align with the goals of Extended Producer Responsibility programs. Most provisions go into effect January 1, 2022 for France, and December 31, 2021 for Italy.