The non-alcoholic beverage industry calls on the European Commission for “priority access” to its recycled plastic (PET) material, or a similar mechanism that guarantees “right of first refusal”, to be incorporated in the upcoming revision of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.
To get there, we need the European Commission to allow us to have priority access to our own recycled plastic material to meet our EU recycling obligations and avoid downcycling, which will break the bottle loop. It is just fair that we regain the equivalent quantity of collected and recycled material that we place on the market to move circularity forwardNicolas Hodac, director general of UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe.
As the beverage industry continues to invest in circularity and to put highly recyclable PET on the market, it needs to have priority access to its own recycled packaging material. This will help the beverage industry produce new packaging with food-grade recycled PET compliant with EU food safety standards, achieve its recycling targets and prevent its recycled PET being downcycled. Closing the bottle loop is required to ensure that the beverage industry meets the Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD) targets and contributes to building a more circular economy for beverage packaging.
The access to the packaging material is essential to continue providing high quality and safe foods. This requirement needs to be merged with the sector commitments to respond to the EU Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan. Therefore the access to the recycled material responding to the highest food quality standards needs to be reassured at every stage of the circularity circle.Wouter Lox, Secretary General of the European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN)
The beverage industry is subject to several mandatory requirements under SUPD, one of which is that PET in bottles has to be food-grade to comply with EU food safety standards. In addition to introducing mandatory collection targets for PET bottles, SUPD also mandates the beverage industry to use a minimum of 25% (by 2025) and 30% (by 2030) of recycled content.
Thanks to significant investments in collection schemes and in eco-design, PET bottles have become the most collected and recycled items around Europe. Through well-designed Deposit Return Schemes, several countries already achieve collection rates above 90%Patricia Fosselard, Secretary General of Natural Mineral Waters Europe,
The beverage industry’s commitment is not only to achieve these EU targets, but also to go much further by creating a closed loop for its PET bottles. Granting the beverage industry fair access to the amount of PET plastic material that it puts on the market and of which it finances the collection is key to promote effective bottle-to-bottle recycling.