Germany’s system of RAL quality marks has long provided consumers with the assurance that any product or service bearing the mark meets specific criteria that guarantee a particularly high standard of quality.
The RAL Quality Mark for Recyclable PET Beverage Packaging is no exception. The mark was developed to promote the use of recycled material and to provide transparency about the fact that recycled material has indeed been used.
Any PET beverage packaging carrying this quality seal contains a minimum of 25% recycled material. One study, conducted by the German Society for Packaging Market Research, found that on average, German disposable PET bottles contained 26 percent recycled PET material. The RAL Quality Assurance Association aims to increase this to an average recycled content of 50 percent by 2022.
To date, however, the criteria which must be met- the quality and testing regulations – solely applied to the production of the recycled PET material through the production of the new beverage packaging and the filling process.
These criteria have now been extended to include an earlier stage of the process: the production of PET flakes. PET flakes are made from cleaned and shredded bottles and are supplied to recycled PET resin producers. These PET flake producers may now also apply for and obtain the RAL quality mark. What is more, the RAL quality mark now also indicates the percentage of recycled content in the bottles, in connection with the upcoming EU legislation.
Detailed requirements at each stage of the recycled materials chain must be met to qualify for use of the RAL Quality Seal for Recyclable PET Beverage Packaging. The companies undertake to continuously monitor compliance with the quality and test regulations and to document this. In addition, the quality mark users are subject to regular external monitoring by neutral inspectors. This ensures that the highest quality standards are maintained at all stages of the process.