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Recycled materials in bottles need to meet food-contact rules

A mandatory minimum 35% recycled content in plastic bottles agreed by MEPs last month could be extended so that it must be compliant with food contact legislation.

A crunch vote is due to take place on 18 December where European waste management industry body FEAD is urging that member states approve the change.

The deadline for the 35% recycled content has already been agreed for 2025. FEAD said there is evidence that ensuring this is food-contact grade is “feasible” with PET, which most single-use drinks bottles are made from.

The move towards increasing recycled content will help member states to meet the deadline of 90% collection target by 2025. FEAD argued that the move would also encourage investment in the recycling sector.

A FEAD statement said: “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 single-use plastics, and is key to achieving the 90% 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.”

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