The EC Requests Comments on Rules for Calculating Recycled Plastic Content in Beverage Bottles
The European Commission (EC) has published a draft implementing decision that outlines rules for calculating, verifying, and reporting on recycled plastic content in single-use plastic beverage bottles. The EU’s Single-Use Plastics Directive, (EU) 2019/904 (SUPD), establishes a minimum recycled content requirement of 25% for PET bottles by 2025 and at least 30% for plastic beverage bottles by 2030. The SUPD requires that by January 1, 2022, the EC must adopt an implementing act laying down the rules for the calculation and verification of the targets established. Hence, this deadline has been well exceeded.
On the methodology for the calculation of the proportion of recycled plastic content in beverage bottles, the draft decision specifies that the “proportion of recycled plastic content in beverage bottles shall be calculated by dividing the weight of recycled plastic in beverage bottles placed on the market by the weight of the plastic parts of beverage bottles placed on the market.” Labels and sleeves should be considered part of beverage bottles when calculating and verifying recycled plastic content targets in single-use plastic beverage bottles. The draft decision also sets forth the methodology for the determination of the weight of the plastic parts and of recycled plastic in beverage bottles. Member States shall calculate and report the weight of the plastic parts and of recycled plastic in beverage bottles, as well as the resulting proportion of recycled content in beverage bottles placed on the market, on an annual basis.
The aim of the initiative, according to the EC, is to “help increase the use of recycled material in the EU economy and reduce plastic waste incineration and landfill.” Feedback is due by May 30, 2023, with adoption of the initiative planned for the second quarter of 2023.
 This requirement applies to beverage bottles with a capacity of up to 3 liters except for (a) glass or metal beverage bottles with caps and lids made from plastic and (b) beverage bottles intended and used for food for special medical purposes.