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MINIMUM QUOTA OF RECYCLED PLASTIC FROM 2025 – WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE PACKAGING MATERIALS INDUSTRY?

From 2025 onwards, PET beverage bottles will have to contain at least 25 percent recycled plastic. By 2030, the required minimum will rise to 30 percent and will then apply to all bottles made of single-use plastic. The trend is clear: With the help of regulation, the recycling balance of packaging materials is to be improved ever further. Read on to find out how companies can deal with this challenge and thus ensure their future viability.

On July 2, 2019, Directive (EU) 2019/904 on reducing the impact of certain plastic products on the environment entered into force. The aim of the directive is to reduce the impact of those plastic products that have been found particularly frequently as waste on European beaches. The directive aims to protect the environment and the oceans from the negative impact of plastics and microplastics in particular. It also seeks to reduce the consumption of limited primary resources and to contribute to a cycle-oriented management of plastics.

In Germany, the provisions of the EU Directive will be transposed into national law with an amendment to the Packaging Act. This amendment was passed by the German cabinet on January 20, 2021. The new regulations that will affect packaging manufacturers, distributors and online marketplaces will come into force from 2022. The amendment focuses on three elements: the obligation to use reusable alternatives in the to-go sector, a minimum quota of recycled plastic in plastic bottles and an extension of the mandatory deposit. You can view the German government’s draft legislation here. Following the decision in the Federal Cabinet, the amendment to the Packaging Act still has to be passed by the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

For companies, this phase of transition brings huge challenges – but also opportunities. In the following, we would like to take a closer look at one new requirement: the minimum quota of recycled plastic for beverage bottles.

MINIMUM QUOTA OF RECYCLED PLASTIC – WHAT HAS BEEN DECIDED?

From January 1, 2025, manufacturers of single-use plastic beverage bottles made primarily of polyethylene terephthalate will only be allowed to put these bottles on the market if they consist of at least 25 percent recycled plastics. From January 1, 2030 onwards, this will increase to at least 30 percent and will then apply to all single-use plastic bottles.

Manufacturers can decide for themselves whether this quota is met for each individual bottle, or spread over a year in relation to the entire bottle production. Under the second option, the type and mass of plastic recycles used by the manufacturer for bottle production must be documented in verifiable form.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY

This new piece of legislation is one more step towards a circular economy. The circular economy model focuses on carefully managing resources so that nothing is wasted. Products and materials are kept in use—reused, remanufactured and recycled continuously— for as long as possible to achieve maximum value. This restorative and regenerative approach aims to create a closed-loop supply chain that “designs out” waste.

ISCC PLUS CERTIFICATION FOR THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY

One of the few international standards for the circular economy is the ISCC certification system. ISCC PLUS certification for the circular economy can be applied to all raw materials that are either bio-based or have been recycled. The standard offers two options for these materials: materials are either physically segregated in production processes throughout the supply chain (“physical segregation”) or mixed in production but separated in bookkeeping (“mass balance approach”).

The mass balance approach makes it possible for companies to demonstrate minimum recyclate content in single-use bottles. Under this approach, sustainability properties remain assigned to material batches for accounting purposes, while the physical mixing of material with different sustainability properties and the mixing of sustainable and non-sustainable material is allowed. This not only gives the recycled material an economic value, but also reduces the risk of plastic waste entering the environment in an uncontrolled manner.

An example: Plastic waste originates for example at waste management companies where it is separated from other waste materials and can be recycled after further mechanical or chemical processing. This process is certified by ISCC PLUS. Manufacturers of packaging products can use this recycled and certified material in production to meet customer and regulatory requirements. ISCC PLUS certification guarantees the traceability of the raw material and certifies that the material has been used in accordance with the ISCC PLUS standard. As soon as the end user throws the packaging in the trash, this cycle starts all over again.

Thus, ISCC PLUS certification is able to cover the entire supply chain: from the source of the material to the final product. It is guaranteed that the material is actually recycled and the consumption of new raw material is reduced. You can access the ISCC PLUS system document here.

DQS is your partner when it comes to ISCC PLUS certification. You can find a company example of a successful ISCC PLUS certification by DQS here.

THE ADVANTAGES

Certification with ISCC PLUS helps companies to master existing and future sustainability requirements. Regulatory requirements can be met and compliance can be demonstrated. In addition, companies with a circular business model meet consumer demands and support employee loyalty through sustainable business management.

Are you interested in ISCC certification? Contact us – we will discuss your project!

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