Brussels | New EU rules to allow use of recycled plastics in food packaging

Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/15XX on recycled plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foods will enter into force in October 2022.

At the time of entry into force, the Regulation will have the following effect:

  • Regulation (EC) No 282/2008 is repealed; it will no longer be in force;
  • It is no longer possible to use recycled plastic Food Contact Materials (FCMs) subject to national legislation;
  • Specific rules become directly applicable to the placing on the market of plastic with recycled content, including on the collection and sorting of the plastic input, its decontamination, and conversion, affecting also quality control, documentation and labelling;
  • A Union register including recyclers and recycling installations is established and will be published on this website;
  • All kinds of recycled plastic and recycling technologies are in the scope of the Regulation, including mechanical recycling, recycling of products from a closed and controlled product chain, the use of recycled plastic behind a functional barrier, and forms of chemical recycling;
  • New rules applicable to novel recycling technologies and the evaluation of recycling processes become applicable.

 

After the entry into force, further rules will become applicable:

  • With respect to mechanical polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling processes:
    • processes subject to an application received by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) before July 2023 may continue after that date to be used to place recycled plastic on the market without authorisation, until they are notified of a decision on their authorisation;
    • the first of those authorisation decisions, concerning applications received before entry into force of the Regulation (i.e. on the basis of Regulation (EC) No 282/2008), are expected within three months from entry into force;
    • authorisation decisions place restrictions on recycling processes; these are based on the EFSA opinion applicable to the process;
    • from July 2023 onwards, processes for which EFSA did not receive an application before that date may not be used to place recycled plastic on the market, they must be authorised first;
  • From July 2023, only plastics containing recycled plastic manufactured with a suitable recycling technology may be placed on the market, unless manufactured with a novel technology and in accordance with Chapter IV of the Regulation; the Regulation lays down two suitable technologies:
    • post-consumer mechanical PET recycling; this requires authorisation of individual processes
    • recycling from product loops which are in a closed and controlled chain; this requires the use of a recycling scheme
  • From October 2024, quality assurances systems used to collect and pre-process plastic input need to be certified by a third party

 

This page paraphrases the Regulation to facilitate a quick understanding of the main rules laid down. It is important to carefully check the wording of this page against the precise wording used in the Regulation. Only the wording used in the Regulation is complete and legally binding.

Further Information for recyclers is available. This information includes downloadable templates and forms.

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