THANK YOU FOR SUBSCRIBING
Food and Beverages | Friday, July 15, 2022
A review of the European Union’s strategy for plastics in a circular economy and its impact on food safety
FREMONT CA: The EU executive plans to propose mandatory recycled content requirements and waste reduction measures for key products such as packaging as part of the EU's drive to create a more sustainable economy in Europe. Under the revision of the packaging directive, there will be targets for recycled content, not just for plastic bottles, as is the case under the single-use plastic directive, currently. Criticizing those plans, the beverage industry claims that other users of plastics, such as the textile industry or car manufacturers, will take the food-grade PET required for plastic bottles, leaving nothing for new bottles and destroying the industry's chances of becoming oblique.
PET bottles, which are built to withstand plastic that is suitable for food and drink, have one of Europe's highest recycling rates because they are collected separately from residual household waste in all EU countries. The beverage industry warns that using high-quality plastic for lower-grade applications like car bumpers would hinder industry plans to go fully circular. To achieve a circular economy where PET bottles are recycled into new ones, the industry needs access to spent bottles.
NGO Zero Waste Europe produces statistics where new bottles sold on the EU market only contain an average of 17 per cent recycled PET even though plastic bottles have a recycling rate of about 50 per cent. This is because recycled PET is frequently downcycled into lower-quality items like plastic trays, strapping, or fibres. Recycling should not be prioritized over reuse and waste reduction. The NGO suggests installing water fountains in cities and ensuring that people have access to drinking water in order to do this.
Prevention should come first, followed by reuse in accordance with the waste hierarchy, to promote true circularity. There is a lot of potential for reuse and refilling beverage bottles in general, not just PET bottles. The necessity of giving refilling bottles top priority. The emphasis of current deposit return programs needs to change from recovering the plastic to replenish it. The EU executive is also considering establishing a mandatory deposit return system and minimum requirements for plastic bottles. It has also been considered an industry suggestion to prioritize recycling from these return schemes.