Europe pledges to make beverage packaging fully circular by 2030

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/andriishyp
Pic:getty/andriishyp

Related tags: Europe, European union, Uk, Packaging, rPET

UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe, a trade organization representing the non-alcoholic beverage sector, has set targets for European beverage packaging to be fully circular by 2030. This will be achieved by using rPET, refillable bottles, and boosting collection rates.

An interim goals is for 50% rPET by 2025, while the organization wants to see recycled or renewable material accounting for all PET by 2030.

UNESDA – which represents 23 national associations across Europe as well as counting Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Suntory and Nestlé among its members - says it supports the EU’s ambition of making Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and building a circular economy.

The target covers the EU, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.

The vision will require actions across three areas:

Collection to create a closed-loop for beverage packaging:

  • Target at least 90% collection of all beverage packaging by 2030. This means going beyond EU targets: EU law has set a 90% collection target for PET bottles; alongside general targets across all sectors for 60% aluminium and 75% for glass
  • Expand introduction of Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) for PET, aluminium cans and other materials

Recycling:

  • All soft drinks PET bottles will contain a minimum average of 50% rPET by 2025
  • The ambition is for PET bottles to be made from 100% recycled and/or renewable material by 2030 – ‘if technically and economically feasible’ – thereby moving away from fossil fuel sources.
  • By 2025, all beverage packaging (plastic, metal, glass) will be 100% recyclable

Reduce and reuse

  • Aiming to boost use of refillable packaging
  • Studying the best environmental and economic pathway to increase use of refillable models.
UNESDA Circular Packaging _01_GENERAL

“Our goal is that beverage packaging achieves full circularity and is recognised as a resource in a circular economy: it has value, is recyclable, is collected and used as recycled content​,” said Ian Ellington, UNESDA president and SVP and Chief Category Officer, PepsiCo Europe.

We believe that packaging is a resource that should never be wasted and are taking numerous actions to achieve full circularity and support the European Commission’s agenda of accelerating the transition towards a green economy.”

UNESDA says it will need support from EU authorities and national governments to reach its ambition, including:

  • long-term perspective and legal certainty as well as protecting the single market;
  • a well-functioning secondary raw materials market that gives the soft drinks sector access to sufficient high quality rPET,  without compromising on safety standards;
  • increased investment in waste management and recycling infrastructure;
  • an EU framework enabling innovative recycling technologies;
  • EU minimum requirements for new DRS across Europe
  • clear definitions of recyclability that foster innovation and investment

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