3R packaging challenges: 2025 in sight, looking to the future in 2040


Under the aegis of the AGEC Act, environmental concerns are being addressed in the new packaging challenges of 2025.

2025 will be a pivotal year, with targets set for 2030 and with 2040 in sight.

Packaging challenges: scope of the 3Rs

A 3-step deciphering of the short-, medium- and long-term objectives for combating plastic pollution.

Redefining the 3Rs and their daily application

The 3R rule.
Abbreviation that defines the management of end-of-life products or associated waste, based on a three-step strategy: reduce, reuse, recycle.

  1. Reduce the quantity of products that reach the end of their life cycle.
  2. Reuse all or part of products to avoid converting them into waste.
  3. Recycle raw materials whenever possible.

This strategy is well known under the Anglo-Saxon definition of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” for the 3Rs rule. In recent years, this has been expanded to include two additional elements, leading to the 5Rs: “Refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle”.

“Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and give back to the earth”.

The anti-waste law for a circular economy pursues the short-term objective of accelerating the change in production and consumption models, in order to limit waste in the medium term, and preserve natural resources, biodiversity and the climate in the long term.

The implementation of the anti-waste law began with a number of phases, culminating in the current deplastification revolution:

Key stages in the 3Rs, packaging challenges from yesterday to today
  • 2020. Official publication of the AGEC Act.
  • 2021. Publication of the 1st 3Rs decree, and definition of targets for reducing single-use plastic packaging by 2025.
  • First bans on plastic accessories and bottles and roll-out of bulk packaging.

Packaging challenges 2025: the key stages in moving away from single-use plastics

A close-up look at the major milestones in the fight against single-use plastic since the AGEC law came into force.

Initial objectives -> packaging 2025 challenges

The aim of the anti-waste law is to put an end to the circulation of single-use plastic packaging on the market by 2040. To achieve this, there are a number of preliminary stages in the fight against plastic, the most common material used in supermarkets.

All the targets for reducing, re-using, re-employing and recycling packaging are set by successive decrees.

With deplastification targets spread over 4 periods:

  • 2021-2025
  • 2025-2030
  • 2030-2035
  • 2035-2040

SINCE 2022. Continuation of the ban on single-use packaging in supermarkets. Introduction of alternatives to single-use plastic (fountains, etc.)

2025 TARGET. Eliminate the use of single-use plastic > 20% reduction (of which at least half through reuse).

Progressive measures that will have a profound impact on consumption patterns.

A series of consecutive phases will provide a framework for the introduction of alternatives to single-use plastic products, which are so much a part of everyday life in France:

  • Toothpaste tubes, jars of creams and cosmetics, shampoo bottles, water bottles, washing detergent cans or household products… So many products and accessories used every day whose packaging needs to be thoroughly overhauled. These are tough measures, but they also have far-reaching consequences for manufacturers.

Packaging challenges: looking towards 2030 and heading for 2040

2025 will undoubtedly be a pivotal year, paving the way for the gradual disappearance of plastic packaging. That said, the long-term objectives of the packaging challenges relate more to the upstream production chain.

While the medium-term objectives are aimed at getting plastics out of circulation, the Grail in the government’s sights is to reduce production, in order to cut the chain of single-use plastic use at source.

Eradicating the problem at its roots by no longer producing plastic gives us time to produce alternative solutions based on recycled materials, so that we can get back into the circular economy loop.

Packaging challenges: what can we do to encourage the circular economy?

Finally, among the packaging challenges of tomorrow, the 3Rs will gradually give way to the 5Rs, in order to revitalise the circular economy loop.

Refuse: in other words, refuse to buy as a first solution, and know how to say “no” to superficial purchases. Encourage reuse and sobriety.

  • Reduce: buy in limited quantities, meet your needs without indulging in superfluous items, reduce your consumption, and therefore minimise waste.
  • Reuse: don’t buy new at any price, opt for second-hand goods, hire or reuse.

Give back to the earth: get into the habit of composting organic matter to nourish the soil (fruit and vegetable peelings, for example).

  • Recycle: as a last resort and an emergency solution. Recycling is good for the environment, but only within the limits of the recycling facilities available.
    Recycling increases the consumption of water and energy resources.What’s more, only 20% of plastic is recycled on average, so reducing waste production at source is essential.

Today’s and tomorrow’s packaging challenges are a collective challenge for professionals and consumers alike, so that together we can contribute to the de-plastification that is so necessary for the environment.

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