Plastic bottle packaging targets
Also included as part of the new Directive (under Article 9 – Separate Collection) are new ambitious collection and recycling targets set by the European Commission. These include a 77% separate collection for recycling target for plastic bottles by 2025 – increasing to 90% by 2029 – and (under Article 6 – Product Requirements) a target of incorporating 25% of recycled content in beverage bottles from 2025, and 30% in all plastic beverage bottles from 2030.
To achieve these targets, plant operators will have to put in place systems that can increase the purity and yield of their recycled plastics to a level that is suitable for re-use in drinks packaging. This is where sensor-based sorting comes into play. Advances in automated sorting technology are making it possible to achieve exceptionally high purity single-stream polymers for re-use in food and drinks packaging – purity levels that are far higher than those achieved by any other sorting technique.
At the same time, it is widely accepted that achieving the targets set for the production and collection of plastic beverage containers will be almost impossible without the widespread introduction of deposit return schemes (DRS) to capture the material. Such schemes for PET beverage containers have been proved to be capable of achieving a return rate of more than 90%.
TOMRA is in a unique position in that we not only have TOMRA Recycling, a business dedicated to designing and manufacturing sensor-based sorting technologies for the global recycling and waste management industry, but we also have our TOMRA Collection Solutions business which is a global leader in the provision of equipment for deposit return schemes. Offering this full circle solution for plastics recycling sets us apart from others in the market and makes us ideally positioned to support customers through the introduction of the SUPD and other legislative developments.
Our message is clear. As long as the right legislation, collection infrastructure and, in particular, the right sorting technology are in place, it will be possible to meet the targets set out in the SUPD for both collection of plastic bottles and the incorporation of recycled content into new beverage bottles. We welcome the SUPD as it will help to accelerate discussions about moving towards a production model that is more circular in nature – a model that reflects TOMRA’s ethos.