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EU deadline for attached bottle caps too strict - Union of European Soft Drinks Associations

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A European beverage trade group has warned that a 2024 deadline for a EU regulation requiring attached caps on single-use plastic bottles is too ambitious.

Beverage containers in the EU will have to have their bottle lids and caps attached

Beverage containers in the EU will have to have their bottle lids and caps attached

In May, the Council of the EU adopted a set of measures designed to reduce single-use plastic and combat marine waste. The measures included the introduction of design requirements to connect caps to bottles alongside other goals such as a ban on plastic straws and cutlery. Under the rules, tethered caps and lids will have to remain attached when opened for all beverage containers up to three litres. 

The EU has set a date of 2024 for the implementation of the measures.

However, in a statement to just-drinks today, the Union of European Soft Drinks Associations (UNESDA) said the timeframe will not give its members enough time to comply with the measure. According to UNESDA, a final report on the standards required for beverage containers is only due by August 2022. "From our perspective, [this] appears to be too late to meet the 2024 deadline," UNESDA said.

The group continued: "We want to ensure that our members are able to develop the right closures, evaluate their performances, perform all consumer tests needed, launch the industrial moulds and adapt production lines in due time. To do this, they will need clear visibility on the new standards by June 2020."

UNESDA also said the EU regulation on bottle caps, part of the trading bloc's measures for a circular economy, "was rushed through the legislative process without appropriate impact assessment". The group said it shared the European Commission's objective of building a circular model for plastic packaging.

The bottle cap requirement will extend beverage producers' responsibility for environmental waste even as they ramp up their own sustainability and circular economy targets. Companies including The Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo have updated corporate social responsibility programmes in the past few years to focus on marine waste and plastic usage. Coca-Cola has also invested in technology that aims to increase the quality of recycled plastic so more can be used to make new beverage bottles.

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