EU Commission set to propose 30% recycled content for plastic bottles by 2030


A 30% recycled content by 2030 requirement for plastic bottles is set to be outlined by the European Commission.

According to news agency Reuters, the proposal will be part of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive that is scheduled to be published this week.


Along with this target for plastic bottles, contact sensitive packaging will need to contain 10% recycled content if it isn’t made from PET and 30% if it is, and 35% for other plastic packaging.

But by 2040, this would rise to 50% for contact sensitive packaging and 65% for other packaging including plastic bottles.

However, packaging manufacturers have fought back against proposed reuse targets seen in a leaked draft. These targets are that the following should be reusable:

30% of cold and hot beverages by 2030 and 95% by 2040

20% of takeaway ready-prepared food by 2030 and 75% by 2040

20% of alcoholic beverages (excluding wine and spirits) by 2030 and 75% by 2040

20% of non-alcoholic beverages by 2030 and 75% by 2040

90% of large household appliance deliveries by 2030.

European paper industries trade association CEPI has warned that these targets for reuse could damage the paper and cardboard recycling industry.

In a position paper in September, it said: “Reuse and recycling are complementary solutions to achieve circularity, as recognised in the EU taxonomy screening criteria.

“When implementing the waste hierarchy, measures that deliver the best overall environmental outcome should be considered and the principle of life-cycle thinking should be adopted when regulating packaging. Scientific studies demonstrate prioritising reuse is not always the sustainable choice.”

Although the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive is expected to be published this week, there have been rumours it may be delayed as a result of the backlash to the proposals on reuse.

But European recycling and waste industry trade bodies FEAD, EuRIC and others called on the European Commission to push ahead.

In a joint letter to the Commission, it said: “The EU legislative process is intended to make proposals better. We support the overall direction and ambition of the proposal and rely on the ordinary legislative process—a democratic process—and urge the European Commission to submit its proposal to the Council and the European Parliament on 30 November as planned so that the ordinary legislative process can begin.

“Delaying its publication beyond this date will make it difficult to finalise the discussions before the end of term of this legislature, creating further legal uncertainty and missing out on an important opportunity for a timely creation of a circular economy for packaging.”