Europe’s new bottle cap regulation

Plastic water bottle with opened cap Credit: EWN Media Group

A new EU directive approved a new policy that requires all bottle caps to be attached to containers which contain less than three litres.

The rule officially starts on July 3; however, the policy was announced by the EU in 2018.

In anticipation of this change, some companies have already embraced sustainable practices. This pioneering initiative aims to reduce plastic waste by 10 per cent, addressing the excess of plastic pollution that takes over beaches and oceans.

Additionally, it seeks to incentivize the recycling of plastic bottles, promoting a more sustainable cycle of plastic use.

Europe’s mission to reduce plastic waste

The regulations extend beyond just bottle caps. By 2025, all PET( Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles must contain at least 25per cent recycled plastic, and by 2030, PET bottles must contain at least 30 per cent recycled PET. This approach targets the root of plastic waste, ensuring that recycling and reuse become integral parts of production processes.

Supporting these EU measures, the Spanish Waste Law also promotes the reduction of waste through various initiatives. The law emphasizes reducing waste “through the sale of bulk products, [and] the sale and use of reusable containers or devices,” encouraging a shift towards more sustainable consumption.

The new regulation has sparked a mix of celebration and frustration among citizens across Europe, impacting their daily consumption of plastic bottles. In many countries, discussions about the new bottle caps have gained popularity, with users engaging in debates on social media platforms.

Individuals reactions to the bottle cap regulation

As an example, a resident from Greece shared their observations in X, reflecting the environmental benefits of the new regulation: “Has anyone else noticed that European water bottles have changed to a cap that doesn’t detach when opened? It reduces litter and makes them easier to recycle.”

In contrast, a UK resident responded to the tweet with a different perspective, highlighting the practical frustrations experienced: “We have had them in the UK for most of last year. It is definitely high up there in the most annoying inventions the world has ever seen. It’s great to try and drink with the cap wedged up your nostril.”

In Spain, residents have also voiced their common frustrations on social media. On Facebook, people commented on the Euro Weekly News platform announcing the bottle cap regulation, expressing mixed feelings. One user remarked, “A good idea in theory but they are terrible!”

Some users recalled past transitions in packaging design in Europe. One reader noted, “They did it with ring-pulls on drinks cans in 1989 and it reduced the amount of waste in the environment….. and we all got used to that, same here I think.”

Reflecting a more resilient view, another comment said: “Once you get used to them they are fine, it’s happened now, so we might as well get used to it.”

Tiny Caps, Massive Pollution

The hope with the new EU directive is that the cap, which could be easily lost or thrown onto streets and beaches, will now remain firmly attached to the plastic bottle. This change aims to prevent what seems like a small pollution problem but can contribute significantly to the more than 850 million tonnes of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere in 2019 due to plastic waste, according to Euronews.

As the implementation date approaches, and companies and the population go through the adaptation process, the conversation around sustainability and practical usability takes another step forward in Europe.

This pioneer shift marks a critical moment in the region’s Green Deal efforts to address plastic pollution, waste, and its impact on the environment.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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Written by

Talyta Franca

Talyta Franca, Class 2026, Northwestern University in Qatar.


    • Angela

      13 June 2024 • 11:55

      My opinion on this is that there should be more stringent rules and banns on using so much plastic in supermarket products. Attached bottle tops in comparison is a load of bs. Excuse my French.

    • Tage Sundin

      13 June 2024 • 12:07

      This EU directive causes some inconvenience, but it is possible to show civil resistance:

      Tear or cut off the cap, then screw it back onto the bottle or container. Then, when you drink directly from the bottle or container or pour the contents into a glass, you can unscrew the cap and screw it back on in the usual way.

      This way, you don’t risk the contents getting in your face or on the table, if the cap is in the way when you pour…

      • Peter Dare

        13 June 2024 • 14:23

        100% agree with Angela. I have been doing what Tage says. I am Anti-dictatorial states regs. Someone said ¨ It is definitely high up there in the most annoying inventions the world has ever seen.¨

    • John Lightfoot

      13 June 2024 • 13:15

      I am sure the EU makes up rules just to try and be relevant. Partially sighted and blind people will end up pouring the drink into the cap then all over their clothes/table etc. If you remove the cap it leaves sharp pieces of plastic that I have already cut my hand on. Do they do tests, do they talk to people using the bottles, do they actually care or just like to dictate to people what they can or can not do.

      • Linda Young

        14 June 2024 • 13:51

        John Lightfoot you are correct but lets be honest the EU talks to no one, they make laws whenever they want and I genuinely believe they could not care at all about the people living in the eu, basically we are their serfs.

    • Abuela CJ

      13 June 2024 • 15:28

      Can’t store sideways on in ‘fridge shelf because it leaks, without quite a bit of effort to replace the cap – can only replace by snapping off the connection between the top & the bottle – so no advantage at all – quite the opposite. Driving me mad to b3 honest – hate them!

    • Madmitch

      13 June 2024 • 18:29

      Not a fan as they can flick liquid away as it stays in the cap or milk runs down the bottle, drinking when out it lets drink run down your face out of the cap, a pain to me, way over the top, never seen people throwing the caps away after drinking from a bottle.

    • Concha

      13 June 2024 • 21:45

      I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I buy sparkling water, which needs the cap tightly screwed on, and I figured it out in about 30 seconds! Lift the cap gently upright until it clicks, push the lid down on to the neck of the bottle, gently press down and screw the top back on. The “hinges” line up exactly and create a perfect seal again. It really isn’t rocket science – just patience AND a little intelligence! Sparkling water, stored horizontally in the fridge without leaks! “Keep Calm, Slow Down and Use your KoKum!

    • rab

      13 June 2024 • 23:35

      Put a bunch of idiots in a room and see what daft laws they can come up with,

    • Anders

      14 June 2024 • 00:10

      If only they spent a little more time in the think tank before forcing legislation. ? The design could STILL be made acceptable to ALL if they just introduced a 2cm connector lead between the cap and the bottle neck. Solution covers all the above scenarios of complaint.. That said,, when it comes to recycling ( in the UK anyway ),, the refuse and recycling agencies still have a gripe about the disposal methods.. 1. They don’t like the caps to be left screwed on the bottles because it reduces the space on the collecting vehicles and 2. The recycling agencies insist that the cap is segregated from the bottle because the two different types of plastic to manufacture the bottle and the cap are incompatible in the recycle processing procedure.. Can’t please everybody eh? 😉

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