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EU initiates update of rules on recycled plastic in food packaging

In December 2021, the European Commission presented a draft act to update EU regulations on recycled plastic food contact materials (FCMs). The aim of the new regulation is to streamline regulations on the development, certification, and use of FCMs in light of the diversity of recently developed plastic recycling technologies. 

The new draft regulation, if adopted, would update the current EU regulation on recycled plastics in food contact, (EC) No 282/2008, that was primarily designed for PET recycling processes that were available in 2008 when the regulation was established. With the update, the Commission aims to cover all those new recycling technologies that have been developed since but that are not adequately regulated yet, and, at the same, attempt to cover future recycling technologies as well. 

This is of particular importance for the PRESERVE project which is targeted at developing new recycling processes and recycled bio-based plastic materials for packaging applications, including potentially food contact packaging. The new draft regulation proposes to allow recycling developers to temporarily place new technologies on the market for a limited time for the purpose of collecting data to assess their suitability and, in particular, the safety of the recycled plastic produced. 

A developer would be required to provide a notification to the local competent authority prior to using the new technology, including detailed information on the characterisation of the new technology, scientific evidence that the new technology can produce (food) safe plastic materials, and a description on the operation of such recycling schemes. The developer would also be required to publish biannual reports detailing the necessary information from all installations using the technology.

The draft regulation was opened for public comment from 6 December 2021 until 18 January 2022. Its adoption is planned for the first quarter of 2022. PRESERVE is closely monitoring the new regulation and partners have been contributing in their capacity as an individual organisation with specific expertise in this field but also as consortium partner of PRESERVE, aiming to develop secondary raw material packaging applications. 

More information and updates on the current state of the draft act can be found on the website of the European Commission.



Author: EUBP / Katrin Schwede





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