The European Parliament agreed on an amendment setting up a target of 35 per cent mandatory recycled content in plastic bottles for beverages, as a necessary complement for ensuring the success of the 90 per cent collection target proposed by the Commission.
Now, this crucial amendment finds itself at the heart of a debate during the ongoing trilogues on the Single-Use Plastic Directive, with a final trilogue on December 18. The Austrian Presidency, as well as several Member States, such as Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, France, the Netherlands, and the UK, already expressed their support for the European Parliament’s proposal. In view of the upcoming “Coreper I” (12 December), FEAD would like to urge the other Member States, as well as the Commission, to be open to mandatory recycled content.
During the second trilogue on November 28, the European Parliament amended its initial proposal by asking Member States to analyse a second proposal. They proposed that by 2025, Member States shall ensure that beverage bottles can be placed on the market only if they are made up of materials that can be recycled in accordance with the food-contact legislation, such as PET with at least 35 per cent recycled content. This percentage would be calculated as an average for each producer. There is already evidence that this is feasible as regards PET, which is the most recycled plastic packaging material in Europe. The average recycled content in PET bottles in Europe was eleven per cent in 2016, with a very slow growth along the years.
Strong signal to boost the offer
Setting a mandatory recycled plastic target for beverage bottles, where food safety considerations are fully complied with, will immediately have positive knock-on effects on improving and increasing the collection rate of these SUP and is hence key to achieving the 90 per cent collection target set by the Proposal, which is an important tool for preventing pollution from uncollected plastic bottles. A mandatory recycled content target will send, through the waste and material value chain, a strong signal to boost the offer of and the demand for recycled plastics, as well as provide operators with the necessary certainty they need to make significant investments in plastics recycling from packaging products. It would also send a strong signal to incentivise the production of recyclable bottles, rather than single-use ones.
The private waste management sector is committed to delivering the quantity and the quality needed by the producers. This proposal would actively contribute to the goals of this directive, and is a unique opportunity, the last one in the current term, for making the EU economy effectively more circular. Please do not waste it!