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New EU regulation on recyclate in food packaging

Last week, the European Commission issued the amendment to the regulation, Euwid reports.

The new "Regulation on the safety of recycled plastic materials and articles in contact with food" is due to come into force in October, following publication in the Official Journal of the EU, and will replace the previous Regulation (EC) No. 282/2008. The amendment contains clear rules for the safe use of recycled plastic for food packaging, including for the collection and sorting of the input material and for its "decontamination and transformation," is said. These regulations also cover quality control, documentation and labeling, according to the EU Commission, Euwid reports. According to the EU Commission, this will enable the issuance of individual permits for more than 200 mechanical PET recycling processes, which will help the industry meet the mandatory 2025 target of using 25 percent recycled plastic in PET beverage bottles in light of the EU Single-Use Plastic Directive's (SUPD) minimum quota. According to the EU Commission, the new regulation covers not only PET, but all types of plastics and recycling processes, "including mechanical recycling, the recycling of products from a closed and controlled chain of custody, the use of recycled plastic behind a functional barrier and forms of chemical recycling processes." It would cover material produced within the EU as well as imports. Specific regulations are to be introduced for novel recycling technologies. Once the new regulation comes into force, it will also no longer be possible to apply national approvals for food contact materials made from recycled plastics, according to the EU Commission, thus avoiding a patchwork of national regulations. In addition, the new regulation will establish a public register for the recycling processes, recyclers and recycling facilities concerned, for greater transparency. More detailed information on the implementation of the new regulation are said to be made available by the EU Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety on its website from September 23.


Criticism of the new EU regulation has come from Germany from the IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen. Packaging manufacturers are pushing for food packaging to be excluded from the planned recycled content quotas. The IK is also critical of the regulations for the use of so-called post-industrial recyclates from production waste. In the view of the IK, these are now subject to "extensive and in many cases bureaucratic requirements" in contrast to previous regulations. The new rules would set the requirements for the safety of recyclates other than those from PET bottles disproportionately high overall. IK CEO Dr. Martin Engelmann criticizes: "The new rules will initially make the use of recyclates more difficult than they will promote it. In any case, they are no basis for setting binding recyclate use quotas for plastic food packaging, because it is not at all clear which recycled plastics other than bottle PET will meet the high requirements in the future." The fact that the use of recycled PET plastics will also be possible in the future is positive, he said. However, he added, the Commission must also swiftly make good on its announcement that it will approve the more than 270 recycling processes that have now been assessed as safe throughout Europe.


Further information: link to the regulation



  • (Sep. 19, 2022)
  • (Sep. 20, 2022)
  • Pressrelease IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen (Sep. 22, 2022)
  • Photo: Fotolia

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