On December 6, 2021, the European Commission (EC) announced a draft act that if adopted would update EU regulations to simplify the bureaucracy around the development, certification, and use of recycled plastic food contact materials (FCMs). Given the wide diversity of plastic recycling technologies, processes, and schemes entering the market and the recurring need for specific rules adapted to each of them, the EC explains that “it is appropriate that this Regulation sets out rules on the functioning such schemes.” 

The current regulation on recycled plastics in food contact, (EC) No 282/2008, was primarily designed for the few polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling processes that were available in 2008 when it was established. The EC explains that it is “appropriate to replace Regulation (EC) No 282/2008 with new rules covering all those existing recycling technologies which cannot adequately be regulated by Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 as well as capable of covering future recycling technologies.” 

In particular, the new draft regulation proposes to allow recycling developers to temporarily place new technologies on the market for a limited time for the purpose of collecting data to assess their suitability. New technologies may otherwise not be able to collect the necessary information to fully assess the safety of the recycled plastic produced, specifically regarding the presence of chemical contaminants that could migrate into food. If evidence is found that “articles recycled with a suitable recycling technology or with a novel technology may endanger the health of consumers, it should be possible for the Commission to analyze the technology and the safety of the recycled plastic materials and articles it produces, and to take appropriate and immediate action on it. 

The draft regulation is open for public comment until January 18, 2022 and is then planned for adoption in the first quarter of 2022. The European Commission presented on the draft recycling regulation on December 7, 2022, and has made the presentation slides publicly available. 


Read More 

European Commission (December 6, 2021). “Food safety – recycled plastic in food packaging (updated rules).”