EU beverage packaging to be fully circular by 2030

The Union of European Soft Drinks Association (UNESDA) has launched its Circular Packaging Vision 2030 today (22 February), which is based upon a pledge that EU beverage packaging will be fully circular by 2030.

beverage packaging to be recycledThe Vision sets out targets across the three pillars of circularity, which are to collect, to recycle and then to reduce and reuse packaging.

“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 UNESDA President Ian Ellington.

As part of its Vision, UNESDA will aim to achieve a closed-loop collection of beverage packaging, with the target of collecting 90 per cent of all its packaging by 2030.

It has cited wider introductions of Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) for PET bottles, aluminium cans and other materials to help reach this target.

UNESDA is also committing to ensuring 100 per cent of its beverage packaging made of plastic, metal and glass is recyclable by 2025, whilst ensuring all soft drink PET bottles contain a minimum of 50 per cent recycled content by the same date.

By 2030, the ambition is for PET bottles to be made from 100 per cent recycled or renewable material if technically and economically feasible, which UNESDA hopes will support the move away from fossil fuel sources.

UNESDA has also pledged a commitment to studying the best environmental and economic pathway to increase the use of refillable models, to reduce the sector's packaging footprint.

The Vision also considers the European Union’s ambition of making Europe the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050 and cites packaging circularity as a key component to building a European circular economy.

UNESDA has called upon support from EU authorities and national governments to achieve its goals and has requested an EU framework for enabling recycling technologies, an EU minimum requirement for new DRS across Europe and investment in secondary raw materials to ensure access to high quality recycled PET plastic content.

Ellington added: “Our Circular Packaging Vision 2030 demonstrates that Europe’s soft drinks industry wants to continue to be a part of the solution.

“Circularity works and we are ready to make long-term investments in supporting and accompanying the transition to ensure that none of our packaging ends up as litter.

“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.”