EU delays recycling process, trade association claims

Materials World magazine
7 Nov 2017

Although scientific opinions approving recycled plastic as safe to use for food packaging, the EU delays publication of an official framework.

More than 9 years have passed since the publication of the European regulation No. 282/2008, setting up the rules on the use of recycled plastic materials in food applications. To this date, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has adopted more than 140 positive scientific opinions on the safety of processes to recycle plastics for use in food contact materials. ‘Following these opinions, the European Commission is in a position to officially authorise the evaluated processes. However, it has not taken any initiative in that direction so far,’ claims the plastics trade association European Plastics Converters.

‘The absence of EU legal framework prolongs the lack of harmonisation amongst member states and generates legal uncertainty and unnecessary burden for the industry using recycled materials,’ the association states in a press release.

Casper van den Dungen, PRE Vice-President & Chairman of the PET Working Group, said, ‘More than €500 million have been invested by companies in plants that can transform recycled plastic materials into those suitable for packaging and food contact applications. In 2014, more than 50% of the recycled PET in Europe was used in such applications. But EU businesses are still in a legislative no-man’s land due to years of delay. This uncertainty leads to decline in investments and more importantly to a possible mistrust in the legislation ruling food contact materials.’ 

Other organisations from across the value chain joined the call. Alexandre Dangis, Managing Director, EuPC added, ‘In order to realise a real circular economy in the European Union, we ask the EU Commission to unlock this bureaucratic situation very urgently. Industry needs to remain competitive at global level and very important investments have been made by hundreds of companies in Europe to comply with this EU regulation. 

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