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IK calls for sustainable measures for recyclate use

The Association of Packaging Manufacturers believes that the recyclate use quotas planned by the EU Commission are hardly achievable.


So far, according to EU specifications, recyclate use quotas only apply to single-use beverage bottles: From 2025, PET single-use beverage bottles must contain at least 25 percent post-consumer recyclate (PCR), and then from 2030, all single-use plastic beverage bottles must contain at least 30 percent. But the targets are set to change and expand with the EU's plan to replace the previous EU Packaging Directive with an EU Packaging Regulation as part of the Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan. For single-use beverage bottles, the EU Commission is proposing the already familiar quota of 30 percent recycled content, but this is then to rise to 65 percent from 2040. All other plastic packaging, with the exception of contact-sensitive packaging, is to have a recycled content of 35 percent from 2030 (65 percent from 2040). Contact-sensitive packaging made of PET is to have at least 30 percent recycled content (from 2040: 50 percent), and other contact-sensitive packaging is to have at least 10 percent PCR (from 2040: 50 percent). However, without corresponding recycling volumes and the swift approval of further technologies, the IK considers the envisaged quotas to be "most likely unachievable", primarily due to the lack of availability of suitable recyclates. Especially for food packaging and other contact-sensitive applications, the use quotas would be a challenge, as these are subject to strict regulations and there are no approved recyclates on the market for them yet. In order to achieve the EU's targets, the IK believes that, apart from quotas, design-for-recycling specifications and high recycling quotas are needed throughout the EU to generate sufficient quantities of recyclates. With a recycling rate of 46.2 percent, Germany is currently among the EU leaders, but the EU average is just 38 percent. In order to obtain more recyclate for food packaging, the IK believes that novel recycling technologies such as chemical recycling must also be approved more quickly as suitable technologies for food use. The use of recyclate should also become more flexible in order to compensate for the different requirements of different products. In the view of the IK, mass balancing, credit methods and certificate trading could provide the necessary flexibility in the use of recyclates. Products must not be banned from the market because recyclates are not available in the required quantities, IK sais. Here, the IK calls for an effective safety net for the industry.



  • (March 1, 2023)
  • Photo: © IK


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