UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe joins three other leading PET value chain trade associations to call on the European Commission to speed up the authorisation recycling processes for PET food contact applications

Leading PET value chain Trade Associations, namely Committee of PET Manufacturers Europe (CPME), Natural Mineral Waters Europe (NMWE), PETCORE Europe, Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) and UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe, recently addressed Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans expressing concerns for the slow procedure on the authorisation of recycling processes for PET in food contact applications.

Regulation 282/2008 requires these authorizations, provided a positive evaluation was first issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). To date, at least 150 recycling processes for food-grade PET have already received EFSA positive opinions but are long awaiting the European Commission’s approval.

Considering the upcoming mandatory targets for recycled content in PET beverage bottles, under the Single Use Plastics and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directives, the current delays in authorizations represent a serious bottleneck for the industry. This would impede the EU Green Deal ambitions, and thereby delay the shift from a policy proposal to a real Circular Economy for plastics.

Presently, more than 600,000 tonnes of installed capacity remain idle, which puts 35 European recycling plants in a perilous financial situation. Moreover, the Commission’s vision on the circularity of plastics and the pledged target of 10 Mt of recycled plastics to be used annually in final products in the EU is put in jeopardy with this delay. The food contact PET industry, a major contributor to the pledge, must be supported by a fully functional regulatory environment that provides legal certainty and fosters investments.

The PET value chain is committed to its role in the pursuit of the Green Deal objectives and the Circular Economy. However, to achieve this goal, we urge the European Commission to accelerate and unlock the potential of circularity for PET food grade packaging.

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