Recycled beverage containers and/or meat trays made from PET plastic (r-PET)
Requirements for packaging manufactured from recycled plastic increase demand on the market and contribute to more circular flows and reduced plastic waste from fossil-based virgin plastic.
- Special contract terms
- Packaging food sector
Plastic packaging for juice and other beverage containers and/or meat trays used within the scope of the contract shall consist, on average, of at least 30 percent by weight recycled PCR plastic (r-PET). The calculation can be made according to the mass balance principle1 during a defined period of time by means of the packaging supplier's monitoring and reporting.
Upon request, the supplier shall present the calculation of the proportion of recycled plastic and demonstrate that the recycled raw material consists of PCR plastic.
1Mass balance can be applied using different methods that measure product substitution and include traceability back to production and raw material when transitioning to recycled and renewable raw materials. Additional information on different mass balance methods.
When a supplier accepts the tender, it means that the special contract term will be fulfilled by the dates shown in the contract. This can be followed up during the contractual period.
Request information from the supplier showing that juice and other beverage containers and/or meat trays used within the scope of the contract consist of an average of at least 30 percent by weight recycled PCR plastic from r-PET.
Check the technical documentation showing that the proportion of recycled plastic comprises an average of at least 30 percent of the packaging that meets the requirement. Check, too, that the recycled plastic is PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled). The documentation shall explain how the proportion of recycled raw materials has been calculated and the period of time the calculation refers to.
The technical documentation used for demonstrating compliance with the special contract term may have a different design from one supplier to another. Some suppliers use a material specification sheet that shows the amount of PCR raw materials included in the product. Other suppliers present invoices that certify transactions for the raw materials purchased for use in the packaging in the form of PCR and virgin materials.
This can be demonstrated, for example, by means of financial transactions for purchased PCR plastics, material specification sheets, Documents of Compliance (DoCs) or Documents of Safety.1
1A Document of Safety includes technical documentation according to a list of requirements for various quality parameters agreed between the supplier of the product and the supplier of the recycled raw plastic material used for the packaging/wrapping.
Information about the criterion
This requirement is formulated as a special contract term and does not need to be met during submission of tenders. This gives suppliers an incentive to work with recycled plastic packaging for various products for which requirements can be set regarding the content of recycled plastic for different levels of packaging. As for recycled plastic in contact with food, an approved recycling process is needed along with an appropriate quality-assurance system and documentation that shall contain information about recycled plastic, such as a Document of Compliance (DoC).
PCR plastic is plastic packaging that has been used for its original purpose by the consumer or organisation and then collected by the intended end user of the packaging.
This requirement covers all levels of packaging, but, for reasons of food safety, primary packaging may currently be manufactured only from recycled PET (r-PET). Recycled PET shall comply with Commission Regulation (EC) No 282/2008 on recycled plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foods, and the recycling process shall be carried out at a recycling process approved by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) or the European Commission. Secondary and tertiary packaging can be manufactured from other types of plastic where migration cannot jeopardise food safety. Stretch wrap and wrapping film are examples of wrapping flows that contain recycled polyethylene plastic.
Before this requirement is set for one or more products, a market dialogue should be conducted to ensure that the proportion of recycled plastic in packaging materials is reasonable for the specific product in question. Additional information about market analyses can be found under Innovation in Procurement.
There is currently no official existing standard regarding the content of recycled raw materials connected to traceability and certification of recycled materials. Work is under way to develop global ISO standards within the CEN/SIS, such as with regards to mass balance. Additional information about mass balance.
One means of verification that has begun to be used instead of the Document of Conformity (DoC) is the Document of Safety,1 which certifies the safety, cleanliness and quality of the recycled plastic used in the material. In the long term, the use of Documents of Safety can allow recycled material to be used in some primary packaging. For example, Documents of Safety have been used to show the proportion of recycled plastic sourced from the healthcare sector that is included in recycled packaging or other applications.
1A Document of Safety includes technical documentation according to a list of requirements for various quality parameters agreed between the supplier of the product and the supplier of the recycled raw plastic material used in packaging or other applications. A Document of Safety can be used to certify the safety, cleanliness and quality of recycled material included in goods or packaging, specifying, for example, the chemical content.
In a circular economy, waste materials are viewed as a resource that can be circulated. Requiring that packaging shall contain recycled plastic increases demand for recycled raw materials. This, in turn, can become an incentive for recycling more packaging after it has been used, as long as there are accessible recyclable plastic streams.
PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled) plastic is plastic that has been used for its original purpose by the consumer and then recycled. The use of industrial waste (PIR – Post Industrial Recycled) is thus not counted in the amount of recycled plastic as part of this requirement. However, working to reclaim industrial waste in these processes is also important in order to make more efficient use of material resources.
In the case of FCM (Food Contact Material, link in swedish from Swedish Food Authority), work is under way within the EU to establish clearer rules for recycled raw plastic materials. It is important to be able to ensure the quality of the plastic at an early stage so that the use of recycled plastic does not entail any risks. However, there are currently no harmonised standards or testing methods regarding the chemical content in plastics, and it is a challenge to mechanically recycle plastic when there is uncertainty with regards to its content.
Customer pressure is considerable, and there is a demand for making use of recycled materials to a greater extent in order to set targets and ambitions both nationally and within the EU and that plastic packaging shall be recyclable.
The version date indicates when the sustainability criterion was created or last updated. Last reviewed dated tells when we last checked that the sustainability criterion still is relevant.
- Current ID
- Version date
- Review date