What Are the New Packaging Regulations in 2024?

As the plastic waste crisis escalates, governments worldwide are taking action with stringent regulations to phase out single-use plastics and promote sustainable packaging solutions. In 2024, several landmark laws and directives came into force, impacting businesses across various industries. This comprehensive regional overview highlights the key regulations you need to be aware of to ensure compliance and stay ahead of the curve.

What Are the European Union’s Initiatives?

Single-Use Plastics Directive

The European Union’s Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive, proposed in 2018, became fully enforceable in 2024. This directive aims to eliminate single-use plastic products by imposing EU-wide market restrictions (bans) on items with readily available alternatives. It also introduces economic incentives to reduce consumption, transition to reusable systems, and establish high collection rates and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes. More details can be found on the EU Single-Use Plastics page.

Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive

The revised Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive sets ambitious recycling targets for packaging waste, including a 65% recycling rate for all packaging by 2025 and a 70% recycling rate for plastic packaging specifically. It also mandates the use of recycled content in plastic packaging, with a minimum of 30% recycled plastic required by 2030. Learn more about these initiatives on the EU Packaging Waste page.

What Are the North American Regulations?

Extended Producer Responsibility Laws

In the United States, Oregon and Maine passed Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws requiring manufacturers selling packaged goods to join a producer responsibility organization, pay membership fees, and report the quantity and types of packaged products sold. Oregon’s law additionally mandates periodic evaluations and disclosures of life cycle environmental impacts for a portion of the largest producers’ portfolios. Detailed information is available on the EPA EPR Laws page.

Truth in Labeling Laws

To combat greenwashing and misleading sustainability claims, California, New York, and Oregon introduced “Truth in Labeling” laws restricting recyclability claims and narrowing the definition of “recyclable” materials. These laws aim to ensure transparency and accurate labeling for consumers. For more information, visit the Truth in Labeling Laws page.

What Are the Asia-Pacific Actions?

Single-Use Plastic Bans

Several countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, India, and China, have released initiatives to phase out single-use plastics. For instance, India’s Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules 2024 prohibit the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of several single-use plastic items, including cutlery, straws, and packaging films. More details can be found on the Indian Government’s Plastic Waste Management page.

Plastic Packaging Taxes

To incentivize the use of sustainable alternatives, countries like Malaysia and Thailand have introduced taxes on plastic packaging. Malaysia’s Plastic Packaging Tax, effective from 2024, imposes a levy on manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging materials. For more information, visit the EY Malaysia Tax Alert.

What Are the Industry-Specific Regulations?

Fashion and Textiles

The European Union’s Textile Strategy aims to create a circular economy for textiles by introducing mandatory design requirements, extended producer responsibility schemes, and labeling requirements for textile products. This strategy encourages the use of sustainable packaging materials in the fashion industry. More details can be found on the EU Textile Strategy page.

Food and Beverage

The EU’s revised Food Contact Materials Regulation tightens restrictions on hazardous substances in food packaging, including a ban on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food contact materials. This regulation promotes the use of safer, non-toxic packaging alternatives in the food and beverage industry. Visit the EU Food Contact Materials page for more information.

E-Commerce and Logistics

To address the surge in e-commerce packaging waste, several countries have introduced regulations targeting online retailers and logistics companies. For example, the UK’s Plastic Packaging Tax applies to plastic packaging manufactured in or imported into the UK, with a £200 per tonne tax rate for packaging containing less than 30% recycled plastic. More details can be found on the UK Government Plastic Packaging Tax page.

How Can Businesses Embrace Sustainable Solutions?

As these regulations continue to evolve, it is crucial for businesses to stay informed and proactively seek sustainable packaging solutions. By embracing circular, bio-based, and toxin-free materials, companies can not only comply with regulations but also meet consumer demand for eco-friendly products and packaging. Visit to explore our extensive range of sustainable packaging options and consultancy services tailored to your industry’s specific needs.

Businesses can also contribute to sustainability by rethinking their packaging design. For example, designing packaging that is easier to recycle or that uses fewer materials can reduce environmental impact. Some companies are exploring innovative packaging solutions, such as edible packaging or packaging that can be repurposed for other uses. These creative approaches can help reduce waste and promote a circular economy. Learn more about sustainable packaging design on our blog.

Consumer education is another critical aspect of promoting sustainable packaging. By informing consumers about the environmental impact of their packaging choices and encouraging responsible disposal, businesses can help improve recycling rates and reduce pollution. Educational campaigns can also highlight the benefits of choosing products with sustainable packaging, driving demand for these alternatives. Explore our consumer education resources for more insights.

Collaboration across the supply chain is essential to achieve truly sustainable packaging solutions. Manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, and consumers all play a role in reducing the environmental impact of packaging. By working together, these stakeholders can develop and implement more sustainable practices, from sourcing materials to end-of-life management.

By prioritizing sustainable packaging solutions and adopting a circular economy approach, businesses can not only reduce their waste footprint but also meet the growing consumer demand for environmentally responsible products. Visit our marketplace to explore our range of sustainable packaging options and consultancy services tailored to your industry. Refer to our Source Green Whitepaper for comprehensive solutions to transition your business to plastic-free and sustainable packaging alternatives.

Contact to audit your packaging and explore sustainable alternatives. We provide expert sustainable packaging consulting services for companies of all sizes and industries. Additionally, we offer comprehensive market research services, deal due diligence for investment funds, market overviews, and research reports. Our team can also assist with thought leadership, community engagement, corporate workshops, keynote and panel speaking, expert opinions for media, and innovation sourcing through startup scouting. Partner with us to elevate your sustainability strategy and drive impactful change.

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