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Your regular update for technical and industry information

EU: The European Commission adopts new regulation for food contact recycled plastics

SEPTEMBER 2022 - ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS, HARDLINES, TOYS AND CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS

The European Commission has adopted New Regulation (EU) 2022/16161 on recycled plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foods. The Regulation will repeal Regulation (EC) No. 282/2008 and enter into force on 10 October 2022.

From 10 July 2023, only plastics containing recycled plastic materials manufactured with a suitable recycling technology or notified novel technology can be placed on the market. Recycled plastic food contact materials and articles must meet the same level of compositional, restriction, and specification requirements as newly manufactured plastics in accordance with Regulation (EU) No. 10/2011. Recycling technology is considered suitable if it is shown to be capable of recycling waste into recycled plastic materials and articles that comply with general requirements laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1935/20042 and is microbiologically safe.

Developers of novel technologies already in use to manufacture recycled plastic materials and articles before 10 October 2022 must notify the competent authority with the required information and publish a detailed initial report concerning the safety of the manufactured plastics before 10 April 2023. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is required to provide opinions on whether novel recycling technologies are suitable to be used as a basis for recycling processes based on the kind of plastic input they are intended for, and the principles they apply for decontaminating that input.

Individual batches of recycled plastic and of recycled plastic materials and articles must be accompanied by a single document or record regarding their quality, including a declaration of compliance (DoC), instructions to the converters and final users regarding its use, and shall be identified by a unique number and the name of the manufacturing stage from which they originate. Retailers should communicate relevant instructions to the users of such materials and articles if such instructions are not reflected in the labelling.

For recycled plastics that are already placed on the market, food business operators are allowed to use and place them on the market until stocks are exhausted.

In addition, the Regulation will have the following effect:

  • it is not allowed to use recycled plastics that are subject to national rules;
  • specific rules apply to the placing on the market of plastics with recycled content, including the collection and sorting of the plastic input, its decontamination and conversion, affecting also quality control, documentation and labelling;
  • a public Union register3 of novel technologies, recyclers, recycling process, recycling scheme and decontamination installations will be published;
  • all kinds of recycled plastics and recycling technologies are in the scope of the Regulation, including mechanical recycling, recycling of products from a closed and controlled product chain, the use of recycled plastic behind a functional barrier, and forms of chemical recycling;
  • new rules applicable to novel recycling technologies and the evaluation of recycling processes become applicable.

 

 

[1]  Regulation (EU) 2022/1616

[2]  Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004

[3]  Resources for plastic recyclers

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