EUROPE – Europe’s bottled water industry has committed to major plastic goals to collect 90% of all PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles by 2025 as an average across the European Union, the efforts aimed at reducing plastic waste into landfill and oceans.

The goal was revised from the previous 60% target and will ensure discarded plastic containers are converted into recyclable PET while cutting on pollution.

The bottled water producers will also collaborate with recycling industry to use at least 25% recycled PET in new bottles by 2025, highlighting the industry’s commitment to closing the circular economy.

The European Federation of Bottled Waters (EFBW) said almost 60% of PET bottles were collected for recycling and that that all packaging used by the industry is recyclable – including glass, PET and aluminium.

“Building on our longstanding sustainable approach to resource management, we are committed to achieving these industry-wide actions.

PET drink bottles already achieve the highest recycling rate of any plastic packaging material in the EU. But even one bottle ending up as litter is one too many.

“It will take a concerted, coordinated effort from many different value-chain actors to drive positive change. EFBW’s members are stepping up to lead the way,” said EFBW president Jean-Pierre Deffis.

EFBW expressed their commitment to PET circularity, which they’ll achieve through collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE).

Welcoming the move, PRE’s president, Ton Emans said PET recyclers were challenged by insufficient feedstock to supply the market and their priority is to improve collection and quality sorting.

EFBW plans to invest further in the development of renewable packaging materials, claiming ‘the bottled water industry has always had sustainability at its heart’.

Plastic use has not only called for sustainability but also safety interventions with the recent revelations that some of the global brands regarded for their safety and purity contained noticeable levels of microplastics.

As a result, big brands such as Nestlé, Unilever and Coca-Cola have announced extensive action in ensuring recyclable and safe plastics.