Tue. Oct 4th, 2022

Brussels, 15 September 2022

Today, the Commission has adopted new rules on the safety of recycled plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. This Regulation will set clear rules to ensure that recycled plastic can be safely used in food packaging in the EU. It will contribute to increasing the overall sustainability of the food system and achieving the objectives of the Circular Economy Action Plan. Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said: 

“To lower our dependency on primary raw materials and build a fully circular economy, we need to boost the market for recycled plastics and significantly reduce plastic waste in the food sector and beyond. Plastics are useful to preserve food, but their use has to be sustainable. Today’s new rules enable food manufacturers to use more recycled plastics in food packaging. This is an important step towards safe and sustainable use of recycled plastics in the food sector.” 

Commissioner in charge of Health and Food safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: 

“The EU needs new rules to produce safe recycled plastics that can be trusted by food businesses and consumers. With around 50% of all plastic packaging in the EU used for food products, we need to ensure that this sector can transition towards a more sustainable food production safely and efficiently – using more recycled plastic is key to achieve this. Protecting our environment and the health of our citizens are two sides of the same coin, and our new rules will deliver on these objectives!” 

The Regulation makes it possible to authorise recycling processes for manufacturing safe recycled plastic materials for use in food packaging. It will also help the recycling industry establish suitable ways for recycling plastics that presently cannot be recycled into food packaging. In addition, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will have a clearer basis to evaluate the suitability of recycling technologies and the safety of the recycled plastic in food packaging manufactured with processes using these technologies. The Regulation will allow granting individual authorisations for more than 200 mechanical PET (polyethylene terephthalate) recycling processes, which will help the industry to meet the binding 2025 target of 25% recycled plastic in PET beverage bottles. In addition, the new Regulation will establish a public register of recycling processes, recyclers, and recycling installations under its scope, providing an increased level of transparency. 

Source – EU Commission