ZeroPM Regulatory Watch Update November 2023

Another week of major news updates as the EU goes foreward in implementing its Chemcials Strategy for Sustainability in relation to persistent and mobile substances!

REACH revision likely delayed until next Commission

The European Commission adopted on 17 October 2023 its work programme for 2024, the last one before the EU elections in June 2024. The expected REACH revision is not on the list of new initiatives for the coming year, indicating that the Commission proposal is very likely not going to be published under the present Von der Leyen Commission.

Council backs EPR system in its general approach on the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive

In its general approach on the revision of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, adopted on 16 October, the Council backed the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme proposed by the Commission, making pharmaceuticals and cosmetics producers pay for the implementation of quaternary treatment. The Council only amended the Commission text to set a deadline for the application of the EPR system three years after the entry into force of the Directive. The European Parliament, which adopted its position on 5 October, had proposed that the EPR scheme should be complemented with national funding.

Regarding the revision of the list of products subject to the EPR scheme, the Council proposed that the Commission considers the necessity to expand the list in the next evaluation of the Directive (scheduled for 2035 and 2041). The list would then be regularly revised on the basis of the results of the evaluation and new scientific evidence. This is less strict than the Parliament’s amendments, which proposed that the Commission reviews the list of products subject to the EPR scheme every five years and is empowered to revise the list by delegated acts. The Council also added in a recital that ‘Member States should have the possibility to impose additional requirements to the EPR schemes’, without specifying further what are these requirements. On the contrary, the Parliament had clearly introduced the possibility for Member States to add sectors to the EPR scheme based on evidence of the presence of micro-pollutants produced by these sectors in wastewater.

The Council also reduced the obligation to apply quaternary treatment to treatment plants serving populations over 200 000 people (double the threshold proposed by the Commission – 100 000 – and higher than the threshold proposed by the Parliament – 150 000). Other amendments are summarised in the excel sheet.

European Parliament’s ENVI committee proposes to ban PFAS in food contact packaging

In its draft report on the proposal for a Regulation on packaging and packaging waste (replacing the current Directive), adopted on 24 October, the ENVI Committee proposes to ban the placing the market of food contact packaging containing intentionally added PFASs and Bisphenol A, starting 18 months after the date of entry into force of the Regulation (around summer 2025). Possible overlaps with the global PFAS restriction, currently reviewed by ECHA’s scientific committees, which does not propose derogations for food contact materials for use in consumer articles, will likely be a point of discussion with the Council and the Commission. The report from the ENVI Committee will be examined in plenary in November 2023.

European Parliament’s ENVI Committee upholds pesticides reduction targets from Farm to Fork Strategy

The position from the ENVI Committee on the proposed Regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products, adopted on 24 October, contains binding targets to reduce by 2030 the use and risk of chemical plant protection products by at least 50% and the use of more hazardous products by 65%, compared to the 2013-2017 average, while the Commission had proposed a 50% target for both based on the 2015-2017 average. The Parliament’s Agriculture Committee had proposed to postpone the deadlines to 2035 and to require the Commission to evaluate the feasibility to achieve the Union targets by 2029. The report from the ENVI Committee will be examined in plenary in November 2023.  

Upcoming/recently passed consultation deadlines:

  • Deadline to provide feedback on the proposal for a Directive on Soil Monitoring and Resilience (Soil Monitoring Law): 3 November 2023 (note passed at the time of posting)
  • Deadline to provide feedback on the revision of the general pharmaceutical legislation: 8 November 2023 (note – current deadline today at the time of posting)
  • Deadline to provide feedback on the European positive lists of substances, compositions and constituents for organic, cementitious, metallic, enamels, ceramic or other inorganic materials, which are authorised for use in the manufacture of materials or products that come into contact with drinking water:
    • Implementing Decision establishing the positive lists: 16 November
    • Delegated Regulation establishing the procedure for amending the positive lists: 13 November
    • Implementing Decision establishing methodologies for testing/accepting substances, compositions & constituents in European positive lists: 16 November
    • Implementing Decision establishing the procedure and methodologies for testing and accepting final materials: 16 November
    • Delegated Regulation establishing the conformity assessment procedure for products that come into contact with drinking water: 16 November

Deadline to contribute to ECHA’s call for evidence on the draft screening report on the presence and risk of Bis(2-methoxyethyl) ether (Diglyme) in articles: 22 November 2023

Gantt Chart and Detailed Spreadsheet and more info of upcoming actions related to persistent and mobile substances

For more information of regulations under the regulatory watch, as well as a Gantt Chart of the roll out, continuously updated spreadsheet and more information, please visit