SCS submits ‘novel technology’ notification for recycled polystyrene as safe food contact material under new EU regulation

20 June 2023

Styrenics Circular Solutions, the value chain initiative to realise the circular economy for styrenic polymers, today confirmed having submitted a notification of a ‘novel technology’ under the new EU regulation 2022/1616. The technology ensures the safe use of rigid recycled polystyrene (rPS) as food contact material behind a functional barrier, in a so-called ABA structure. The notification aims at the immediate and continued availability of safe rPS produced with that established technology, under the stringent conditions and supervision foreseen by EU law.

The EU regulation 2022/1616 on recycled plastic food contact materials and articles (FCM) entered into force in October 2022. It aims to ensure the safety of FCMs while, according to the European Commission, enabling the use of more recycled plastic FCM. It permits the use of polystyrene recycled with ‘novel technologies’ as FCM, e.g. in food packaging – as soon as and as long as certain conditions are met, including completing a notification and ongoing monitoring and reporting of detailed safety information. Whilst the notification is subject to a verification by the competent authority, the submission means that rPS produced with the notified installations and technology may be placed as FCM on the market immediately.

The SCS-led consortium consists of European manufacturers, converters and recyclers, reflecting the polystyrene value chain. Going forward, further installations recycling and converting polystyrene to ABA sheets may be added under this existing SCS notification. SCS looks forward to welcoming more stakeholders of the value chain joining its consortium to further increase the recycling and processing capacity in order to meet the market demand for safe recycled plastic FCM.

Jens Kathmann, Secretary-General of SCS, said:

“This significant step will accelerate the uptake of recycled polystyrene in the market. Our notification builds on polystyrene’s intrinsic suitability as recycled food contact material, due to its low diffusion characteristics, among other things. It demonstrates the justified confidence in the safety of recycled polystyrene for food contact applications, which is based on research that we initiated before the new EU regulation.”

He adds:

“Furthermore, we, our members and partners have been developing multiple other technologies for recycled polystyrene that can be safely used also in direct contact with food. The investments and strong engagement of the value chain are paying off. We warmly welcome even more value chain members to join our ABA consortium."

About Styrenics Circular Solutions
Styrenics Circular Solutions is the value chain initiative to realise the circular economy for styrenics. The initiative engages the entire value chain in the development and industrialisation of new recycling technologies and solutions. It aims to strengthen the sustainability of styrenic products while improving resource efficiency within the circular economy.

Media Contact
Chrissi Schönfelder
Chair of Advocacy & Communications
Styrenics Circular Solutions
+ 32 (0)2 313 39 30
[email protected]