European bottled water producers have said they will move towards the circular economy by 2025 by helping to ensure more bottles are recycled.
The European Federation of Bottled Waters (EFBW) said it intended to increase both the collection of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and the use of recycled PET (rPET).
It said collection rates for PET bottles varied sharply across the EU, from more than 90% in some member states to less than 20% in others.
The EFBW committed the industry to collect 90% of PET bottles by 2025 as an EU average by being “a driving force alongside all actors involved in the waste management process”.
It will collaborate with the recycling industry to use at least 25% rPET in water bottles by 2025 as an EU average, and invest further in eco-design and research on non-fossil based plastic materials.
Manufacturers will also engage with consumers in preventing littering.
President Jean-Pierre Deffis noted: “PET drink bottles already achieve the highest recycling rate of any plastic packaging material in the EU. But even one bottle ending up as litter is one too many.”
Plastics Recyclers Europe president Ton Emans said the bottled water industry had been a front-runner in PET circularity but lacked sufficient feedstock to supply the market.
“The priority is to drastically improve collection and quality sorting,” he said.