EU sets out 30% recycled content target for plastic bottles

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/spwidoff
Pic:getty/spwidoff

Related tags: Plastic bottles

Plastic bottles in the EU will contain at least 30% recycled content by 2030, according to European Union targets. EU member states have also agreed to achieve a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029.

The targets are outlined in the Council’s directive on single-use plastic products,​ which has formally been adopted today.

30% recycled plastic content

The plastic bottled recycled content targets will be calculated as an average for all PET bottles placed on the market in each member state.

From 2025, PET bottles will have to contain at least 25% recycled plastic. From 2030, they will have to contain at least 30% recycled plastic.

The targets cover plastic bottles with a capacity of up to three litres, including caps and lids. Those used for beverages with a medicinal purpose will be exempt.  

“In order to ensure the circular use of plastics, the market uptake of recycled materials needs to be promoted. It is therefore appropriate to introduce requirements for a mandatory minimum content of recycled plastic in beverage bottles,” ​says the council.

Increasing collection rates

The single-use plastics directive sets out stricter rules for products and packaging which most frequently pollute European beaches. Single-use plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks and cotton buds will be banned by 2021.

Meanwhile, collection targets for plastic bottles are being raised to help address litter from these items.

From 2025, 77% of single-use plastic bottles must be collected; and from 2029, 90% of bottles should be collected.

“Beverage bottles that are single-use plastic products are one of the marine litter items that are found the most on beaches in the Union,”​ says the council.

“This is due to ineffective separate collection systems and low participation in those systems by consumers. It is necessary to promote more effective separate collection systems. Therefore, a minimum separate collection target should be established for beverage bottles that are single-use plastic products.”

Setting targets

Manufacturers and industry organisations have also made efforts to set collection and recycling targets.

Last year, the European Federation of Bottled Waters, which represents around 600 natural mineral and spring water producers, set targets to use an average of at least 25% rPET in plastic bottles and collect 90% of all PET bottles by 2025.

Coca-Cola European Partners has pledged to collect 100% of packaging and use 50% recycled plastic in PET bottles in Western Europe by 2025.

PepsiCo is aiming to use 50% recycled plastic in its bottles across the European Union by 2030:​ up from 13% today and with an interim target of 45% by 2025.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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