Lorax EPI

PCR content requirements in the EU: How are they progressing?

PCR content requirements in the EU: How are they progressing?
by Jianhong Hu at 15:51 in Circular Economy

PCR Content and Its Benefits

Post-consumer recycled content (PCR) refers to material that is made from items recycled by consumers. Usually, recyclable items such as plastics, metals and cardboards/paper are collected by the local recycling program and transported to facilities for sorting based on material type. Recycled bales will then be purchased and sent to different recyclers to be used for a variety of finished products.

Using PCR content, namely recycled materials, for products and packaging manufacturing results in environmental benefits of carbon savings and resource efficiency. Also, it reduces the demand for virgin raw materials and improves the end-of-life of the materials. The inclusion of PCR into production supports the development of a circular economy.


Minimum PCR Content Requirements - EU

To increase the uptake of recycled materials and to contribute to a more sustainable economy, the EU Commission proposed the "Circular Economy Action Plan" in February 2021. The Action Plan is not legislative, but calls for mandatory requirements on minimum recycled content for key products such as packaging, construction materials, batteries and vehicles. As per Lorax EPI's latest research, the proposal has been adopted by the EU Parliament, and the Commission is developing rules on measuring recycled content in products.

Even earlier than that, EU Single-use Plastics Directive (2019) issued a specific minimum recycled content target for PET beverage bottles for Member States. It is expected the EU Commission will adopt implementing acts establishing the rules for the calculation and verification of the targets by 1 January 2022.

Regarding PCR labelling, there is no mandatory regulation for indicating the percentage of recycled content on labels, but businesses may choose to do this on a voluntary basis as long as they are complying with ISO standard - Self-declared environmental claims.


If you would like to learn more about PCR content requirements and the worldwide legislative trend, please contact us to talk to one of our consultants.​

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