What are the EU’s new rules for large household appliance packaging?

Fridges, dishwashers, and other large household appliances may need to be transported in reusable packaging by the year 2030, according to a new law proposed by the European Union.

The Commission proposed the changes under a new packaging waste law last year in a bid to cut the amount of packaging used for larger appliances, like boxes and wrappings. The new law would also promote things like recycling and reusing packaging to reduce waste. 

The Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) is currently being analysed by different EU countries and the European Parliament before it’s introduced. However, it has received a huge amount of criticism from retailers, as they claim it will cause logistical problems. 

Under the proposals, at least 90% of packaging for large appliances should be  “made available in reusable transport packaging” by 2030 if it’s the first time they are available for sale in the EU. 

Large household appliances include things like refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, tumble dryers, electric fans, and air conditioners, which would all be subject to re-use targets. 

A large European trade association, APPLiA has warned that the new packaging rules could be a big concern for the industry, as large household appliances need to be protected as they are transported to make sure they aren’t damaged on the journey to the retailer or consumer. 

They say that packagings like cardboard boxes, pallets and pallet wrappings, and plastic straps are essential for moving items and they  “cannot be reused due to technical constraints”. 

However, the Commission says it’s confident that the target can be met. In a statement, an EU executive said, “First of all, the related reuse and refill targets refer to transport packaging and address activities where specific packaging solutions are already available and coupled with reverse logistics available at delivery.” 

They also referred to a study that supported the proposals, adding that the study contains “detailed assumptions and methodology used to model the change in mass flows, financial costs, environmental impacts, and social (employment) impact”.

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