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Definition and development of functional barriers for the use of recycled materials in multilayer food packaging

TECHNOLOGICAL WATCH

Type of information: NEWS

In this section, you can access to the latest technical information related to the BANUS project topic.

PRE presses EU to speed up food packaging safety implementation

Plastic Recyclers Europe has pressed the European Parliament to speed up implementation of its evaluation on recycled products in food packaging.

PRE said more than nine years have passed since the publication of the Regulation (EC) 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 authorize the evaluated processes. However, it has not taken any initiative in that direction so far.

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.

× Food packaging

Casper van den Dungen, PRE Vice-President, said: “More than €500 million have been invested by companies in plants which can transform recycled plastic materials into materials suitable for packaging and food contact applications. In 2014, more than 50 per cent of the recycled PET in Europe was used in food contact 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.”

Christian Crépet, Executive Director of Petcore Europe, said: “Food contact development is subject to clear regulations. Although PET is one of the most widely recycled polymer, the absence of regulation results in a lack of market visibility for sales of recycled PET. This situation affects the whole value chain from virgin production up to waste management. Investment is down and the "bottle-to-bottle" activity should be facilitated.”

Alexandre Dangis, Managing Director, EuPC, said: “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.”

Patricia Fosselard, EFBW Secretary General, said: “Natural mineral and spring water producers are important users of recycled plastic (PET). Having a harmonised European framework on recycling processes will pave the way for greater use of recycled plastic and foster circular economy while bringing legal certainty to recyclers and users alike.

The PET value chain urges the Commission to authorise recycling processes positively evaluated by EFSA. This authorisation would ensure harmonisation of the market and remove any legal uncertainty in trading recycled materials in food contact applications. It will also enable to drive circular economy for plastics by opening new markets for plastics recyclates.”

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research, technological development and demonstration (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [606572].

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