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EU Publishes New Regulation on Recycled Plastic Food-Contact Materials

Woman holding box of recycling

European Commission's (EC) Regulation (EU) 2022/1616 of September 15, 2022, on recycled plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foods, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 282/2008, were published in the Official Journal of the European Union on September 20, 2022 (and a corrigendum was published on September 21, 2022). The new regulation will come into force on October 10, 2022 although some transitional provisions apply. 

Regulation (EU) 2022/1616 focuses on decontamination and required demonstration of safety at three levels (recycling technology, recycling process, and recycling installation). For further information, please see a previous article, EU to Repeal and Replace Regulation on Recycled Plastic Food-Contact Materials.[1]  

The EC has a webpage on (EU) 2022/1616 which includes questions and answers on the regulation. The most imminent obligation for recyclers is to register in the Union Register of technologies, recyclers, recycling processes, recycling schemes, and decontamination installations.   

For recycling facilities outside the EU, the “competent authority” in charge of verification of compliance with the Recycled Plastics Regulation will be a national government agency who may be unwilling to certify compliance (while an earlier draft of the Regulation had proposed to allow recyclers outside of the EU to appoint a competent third party to deal with this, this was removed from the final version).

[1] Note that if a recycling process is based on a suitable recycling technology for which the Regulation requires individual authorization of the recycling process (e.g., polyethylene terephalate (‘PET’) post-consumer mechanical recycling), then a valid application would need to be submitted to the competent authority by July 10, 2023 in order for recycled plastic materials and articles obtained from that process to continue to be placed on the EU market until the applicant withdraws its application or until the EC adopts a decision granting or refusing the authorization. Our linked article on the draft Regulation refers to a shorter transitional period (referenced in the EC’s presentation of December 16, 2021 on this topic).