In a groundbreaking move towards sustainable and transparent practices, the European Commission has introduced a new directive, Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2023/2683, to govern the disclosure of recycled content information in single-use plastic beverage bottles (eur-lex.europa.eu). The decision, effective as of 1st December 2023, is a pivotal step in aligning with the objectives set out in Directive (EU) 2019/904, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of certain plastic products.
Understanding the Background
Directive (EU) 2019/904 mandated specific targets for the minimum recycled plastic content in single-use plastic beverage bottles, including PET bottles. Notably, the target for 2025 is a minimum of 25% recycled plastic for PET bottles, increasing to at least 30% for all beverage bottles by 2030. The newly introduced directive addresses the need for a standardised methodology in calculating and verifying these recycled plastic content targets.
Inclusion of Labels and Sleeves
An essential aspect of this directive is the clarification that labels and sleeves should be considered integral parts of beverage bottles. The reasoning is twofold: labels and sleeves, serving branding and informational purposes, are attached during the same production stage as caps and lids. Therefore, their weight must be included in the overall weight of beverage bottles. This inclusion aims to prevent misleading claims of 100% recycled bottles by accounting for all components, ensuring a more accurate representation.
Defining 'Recycled Plastic'
The directive clearly defines ‘recycled plastic’ to avoid ambiguity. It specifically includes material that has undergone post-consumer plastic waste recycling. This decision aims to differentiate between post-consumer and pre-consumer plastic waste, focusing on the former to align with the environmental objectives of Directive (EU) 2019/904.
Harmonizing Calculation Methods
The directive emphasises the importance of a consistent approach across Member States in calculating recycled plastic content. It encourages reliance on Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/1616, establishing a reporting chain for manufacturing steps and ensuring uniformity in data collection. This method streamlines calculations and minimises administrative burdens on economic operators and Member States.
Acknowledging advancements in recycling technologies, the European Commission proposes an amendment to include methodologies for calculating recycled plastic content obtained through various recycling methods. This forward-looking approach aims to adapt to emerging technologies and maintain the directive's relevance.
Ensuring Food Safety Compliance
As all parts of beverage bottles are materials intended for food contact, Regulation (EU) 2017/625 applies. This regulation ensures official control of the percentage of recycled plastic, enhancing the safety and quality of recycled content in beverage bottles.
Reporting and Transparency
Member States are now obliged to collect and report data on the weight of plastic parts and recycled plastic in beverage bottles annually. The format for reporting considers measurement methods and reporting formats for packaging waste, ensuring consistency with existing regulations.
With the directive set to be effective from 1st December 2023, stakeholders in the plastic beverage bottle industry are urged to familiarise themselves with the new rules and adjust their practices accordingly. The European Commission's commitment to sustainability and environmental goals is evident in this directive, marking a significant stride towards a more circular and responsible use of plastics.
In conclusion, the European Commission's recent directive marks a crucial advancement in pursuing sustainable practices in the plastic beverage bottle industry. We invite you to explore the full text for a more in-depth understanding of the decision and its implications, click here.
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