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EU Releases A Calculation Method for The Proportion of Recycled Plastics in Beverage Bottles

EU Releases A Calculation Method for The Proportion of Recycled Plastics in Beverage Bottles

The plastic directive (EU) 2019/904 issued by the European Union in 2019 sets a minimum recycled plastic content for plastic beverage bottles, including PET bottles. On November 30th, the European Commission issued an executive decision explaining the methodology for calculating and certifying the regeneration content of PET bottles and beverage bottles annually.


In order to calculate and certify the recycling content target of a plastic beverage bottle, labels and labels should be included as part of the beverage bottle. Firstly, typically when a beverage bottle is sold to consumers, it includes the bottle body, cap, and label or set label. Tags and labels are used to convey information and contribute to brand promotion. Labeling typically provides a 360 degree coverage function, while other labels typically only cover a small portion of the bottle body. Secondly, labels and labels are often attached to the bottle body at the same stage as the bottle cap during the production process, so their weight should be included in the weight of the beverage bottle, and the recycled plastic content of the labels and labels should also be included in the weight of the recycled plastic in the beverage bottle.


The recent regulation released by the European Commission clearly provides a calculation method for recycled plastic in beverage bottles. A single sentence in a plastic directive can lead to such a complex interpretation and implementation method. It also illustrates from another perspective that the policy and regulations of circular economy and regulatory system cannot be simply defined, and there is no follow-up implementation, methodology, and reporting mechanism, because it is difficult for the industry to understand and accurately implement.


Plastic beverage bottles within the territory of member countries must contain 30% recycled plastic. The newly issued implementation resolution clarifies the following aspects:


1.Recycled plastics should only include plastic waste materials that were consumed before entering the recycling system, as the recycling of plastic waste before consumption already has sufficient market power. In addition, the purpose of (EU) 2019/904 is to reduce the environmental impact of certain plastic products, and plastic waste is usually not leaked into the environment before consumption.


2."Beverage bottle" refers to a plastic beverage bottle with a capacity of up to 3 liters, including its cap, label, and label, but excluding glass bottles with plastic caps, as well as liquid beverage bottles designated for special medical purposes in Article 2 (2) of (EU) No 609/2013.


3.The 2025 goal targets PET beverage bottles, while the 2030 goal targets plastic beverage bottles.


4.The calculation of recycled plastic content is: the proportion of recycled plastic content=(recycled plastic content/weight of plastic bottles placed in the market) * 100%; Among them, the recycled plastic content=plastic bottle recycling content+bottle cap recycling content+label or label recycling content; The calculation logic for the weight of plastic placed in the market is similar, and the three are added together.


5. Recycled plastic content=Recycled plastics produced by member countries themselves+Recycled plastics imported from other member countries+Recycled plastics imported - Recycled plastics exported - Recycled plastics sent to other member countries. The calculation logic for the weight of plastic bottles placed in the market is also similar.


6. The calculation and certification of recycled plastic content in beverage bottles will be based on data obtained in accordance with (EU) 2022/1616, which will establish a reporting chain throughout the production process. Member states are responsible for collecting data from economic operators who place beverage bottles on the market and checking the reliability of the data.


On March 31, 2024, the European Commission was responsible for proposing a revised version of this executive decision to establish a methodology for calculating, certifying, and reporting the content of recycled plastic in beverage bottles obtained through other types of recycling, such as chemical recycling.


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(Context and picture are conferenced from the ChinaPlast Online Website)