Plastic Recyclers Europe criticizes EU’s recycling approval delay “obstacle”

4d412ec0-72f4-48d7-b51f-27cf622167bcarticleimage.jpg

05 Oct 2017 --- The Plastic Recyclers Europe (PRE) group has issued a statement critical of the EU’s delay in approval of recycling processes in food contact applications, calling it: “an obstacle to the circular economy.” More than nine years have passed since the publication of the Regulation (EC) No. 282/2008 setting up the rules on the use of recycled plastic materials in food applications, PRE notes.

To this date, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has adopted more than 140 positive scientific opinions on the safety of processes to recycle plastics for use in food contact materials. 

Following these opinions, the European Commission is in a position to officially authorize the evaluated processes. However, it has not taken any initiative in that direction so far.

“This news is disappointing as the economics and technology are ready to develop the market of recycled PET in food contact applications,” Antonino Furfari, Plastic Recyclers Europe Managing Director, tells FoodIngredientsFirst. “But the legal uncertainties and delays are postponing investments.”

Industry condemns uncertainty
The absence of EU legal framework prolongs the lack of harmonization among the Member States and generates legal uncertainty and unnecessary burden for the industry using recycled materials, according to PRE.

“More than €500 million (US$589 million) has been invested by companies in plants which can transform recycled plastic materials into materials suitable for packaging and food contact applications,” says Casper van den Dungen, PRE Vice-President & Chairman of the PET Working Group. “In 2014, more than 50 percent of the recycled PET in Europe was used in food contact applications. But EU businesses are still in a legislative no-man's land, due to years of delay.”

“This uncertainty leads to decline in investments and more importantly to a possible mistrust in the legislation ruling food contact materials,” van den Dungen adds.

Other organizations from across the value chain have joined the call. “Although PET is one of the most widely recycled polymer, the absence of regulation results in a lack of market visibility for sales of recycled PET,” according to Christian Crépet, Executive Director of Petcore Europe. “This situation affects the whole value chain from virgin production up to waste management. Investment is down and the ‘bottle-to-bottle’ activity should be facilitated.”

In order to realize a real circular economy in the European Union, the organizations ask the EU Commission to unlock this bureaucratic situation very urgently, according to Alexandre Dangis, Managing Director, EuPC.

“Industry needs to remain competitive at a global level and very important investments have been made by hundreds of companies in Europe to comply with this EU regulation,” adds Dangis.

Patricia Fosselard, EFBW Secretary-General, emphasizes that natural mineral and spring water producers are important users of recycled plastic (PET).

“Having a harmonized European framework on recycling processes will pave the way for greater use of recycled plastic and foster circular economy while bringing legal certainty to recyclers and users alike,” according to Fosselard.

PRE has, therefore, urged the Commission to authorize recycling processes positively evaluated by EFSA. It believes that this authorization would ensure harmonization of the market and remove any legal uncertainty in trading recycled materials in food contact applications. It would also enable to drive the circular economy for plastics by opening new markets for plastics recyclates, PRE adds.

“For recycled plastics in food applications, we will continue our dialogue with the EU authorities in order to overcome the delays as soon as possible,” Furfari tells FoodIngredientsFirst of PRE’s plans for the future.

By Paul Creasy

Related Articles

Business News

Firmenich commits to 100 percent sustainable juice

20 Oct 2017 --- Firmenich has signed the Sustainable Juice Covenant, joining forces with leading European beverage and food companies to commit to creating 100 percent sustainable juice and puree by 2030. Under the coordination of IDH: the Sustainable Trade Initiative, Firmenich, Döhler, FrieslandCampina Riedel, Refresco and Verbruggen Juice Trading Sustainable Products b.v., have agreed to target 100 percent verified sustainable sourcing for their juices within the next decade.

Business News

EDA criticizes traffic light labeling plans for ignoring “good” nutrition

19 Oct 2017 --- The European Dairy Association (EDA) has slammed the new traffic lights labeling system claiming that it falls short in certain areas relating to nutrition, dietary recommendations and what to limit in people’s diets. While the EDA believes and supports the fact that consumers should be fully informed on the nutritional properties of foods – which is one of the legal requirement of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 – it says that new Evolved Nutrition Labelling Initiative (ENL) proposals don’t go far enough and is an inadequate system for milk and dairy products. 

 

Business News

“Leading European fund” Capagro Innovation completes final funding round

19 Oct 2017 --- Capagro Innovation has successfully completed its final funding round – a second funding round worth €66 million (US$77.8 million) – leading the company to state that it has become one of the leading European funds specialized in innovation in agriculture and food. This follows the reopening in January 2017 of the subscription period for its venture capital vehicle, Capagro Innovation.

Food Ingredients News

Superfoods: (Part 1) The evolution of nutrient-rich food for health-conscious consumers

17 Oct 2017 --- Superfoods can be classified as foods that are superior in terms of their nutritional value or nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. Even small portions of some superfoods can supply an abundance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, antioxidants and more. Many superfoods contain extraordinary characteristics that can have a variety of health benefits from boosting immunity, treating illness/disease, reducing blood pressure, cutting sugar intake, lowering cholesterol and more.

Business News

UCL study urges European Commission to block Bayer Monsanto merger

17 Oct 2017 --- The so-called mega-merger planned between seed giants Bayer and US-based Monsanto should be blocked under EU competition law, according to a major new study from University College London. Released yesterday (October 16), on World Food Day, the authors of the report claim that the European Commission should be obliged to block the merger, which is currently under an in-depth investigation, even on a narrow reading of EU competition law.

More Articles