Drinks companies wanting to use shredded waste plastics to make bottles or other containers will have to follow new European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) guidelines on ensuring these materials are safe.

The European Union (EU) agency has released detailed notes on a mandatory assessment for companies wanting to manufacture such food and drinks packaging for EU markets. A new EU plastics regulation - EC/282/2008 - requires recycled plastics touching drinks or food must be made by processes assessed for safety by EFSA.

The agency said it will check "the quality of the input materials, the efficiency of the process to decontaminate the plastics and the intended use of the recycled plastic". The system only controls the safety of mechanical recycling, where collected plastics are ground into small pieces, decontaminated and processed into new materials. Chemical recycling, where the plastic is separated into its component parts and repolymerised, is not covered.