WFD for textiles: Council adopts position

On 17 June, the European Council adopted its position on the revision of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) with a focus on textile and food waste.

This general approach proposes several changes to the European Commission’s draft. For example, the Commission is asked to consider setting targets for the prevention, collection, preparation for re-use and recycling of used textiles by 31 December 2028.

Moreover, the general approach addressed the following points, which Landbell Group welcomes:

  • a more accurate definition of social enterprises
  • mandatory appointment of an authorised representative
  • mandatory entrustment of a producer responsibility organisation, and
  • an implementing act to specify EPR fee modulation

The Council’s position extends the proposed transposition period from 18 to 24 months, thereby delaying the entry into force of this much needed legislation.

The European Parliament adopted its position on the WFD amendments in March 2024. The inter-institutional negotiations between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission will begin after the new Parliament has organised itself after the elections in early June (for example, by determining the committees and responsibilities of parliamentarians).

Green claims directive: Council calls for changes

The European Council adopted its general approach on the Green Claims Directive on 17 June. The directive aims to address greenwashing and help consumers to make “greener” purchasing decisions.

The proposed changes require companies to use clear criteria and the latest scientific evidence to substantiate environmental claims and labels. In addition, the general approach specifies that claims and labels should be easy to understand, with specific reference to the environmental characteristic claimed, such as durability, recyclability or biodiversity. This should further enhance consumers’ ability to make environmentally responsible choices.

In addition, the general approach maintains the proposed verification of claims and labels. This means that an independent third party must verify any green claim before it is published. In certain cases, a simplified procedure may circumvent this process and reduce the administrative burden for companies. The general approach foresees that the Commission will define the characteristics of this simplified procedure via an implementing act.

Trilogue negotiations are expected to begin in the new legislative term.

Right to Repair: directive adopted

On 13 June, the EU institutions signed the final act of the Right to Repair Directive. The directive aims to promote more sustainable consumption by making it easier to repair defective goods, reducing waste and supporting the repair sector.

Manufacturers will now be obliged to repair products that are deemed technically repairable. In addition, sellers will be required to give priority to repair when it is cheaper or equal to the cost of replacement. For certain products, the right to repair continues after the end of the guarantee period.

So far, the products covered by the directive are mainly appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers or refrigerators, and electronic goods such as mobile phones or screens. However, the Commission is expected to expand the list of products covered by the directive.

The legislation still needs to be published in the Official Journal, entering into force 20 days thereafter, then giving Member States 24 months to transpose the directive into national law.

Packaging recyclability: study to develop technical recommendations

The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, has released a study that will develop technical recommendations for possible elements and parameters of a methodology to assess the recyclability of packaging.

The aim is to identify the relevant functionalities of the packaging materials of Annex II to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) that could be considered in a design-for-recycling (DfR) methodology.

Based on JRC’s in-house research and a thorough stakeholder consultation, the study served as preparation for an upcoming delegated act under the PPWR.

It establishes the following four elements and 19 parameters as a starting point for a methodology to assess the recyclability of packaging materials:

  • Element: predominant packaging material
    Parameter: materials, colours / optical transmittance, additives / fillers, and barriers / coating
  • Element: decoration, information, branding
    Parameter: coding, inks / lacquers / varnishes, labels / sleeves – materials, and labels / sleeves – packaging coverage
  • Element: closing and opening systems
    Parameter: tamper evident elements (shrink wrap / rings), closures / openings, liners / seals / calves
  • Element: other
    Parameter: adhesives (packaging body, labels and components, closure), dimension of packaging, separability of packaging parts (ease of dismantling), product residues, recycled content, content of biodegradable materials, integrated and separate components, other

It is foreseen to establish DfR criteria via delegated acts, which will have to be complied with by 2030.

The methodology for assessing recyclability at scale will also be developed at a later stage and will have to be complied with by 2035.