With recycling and sustainability increasingly becoming one of the highest priorities for consumers across the globe, as well as the stringent regulations and ever-changing government objectives regularly coming into effect, manufacturers have to constantly remain up-to-date and vigilant to remain compliant, future-paced, and appealing to consumers.

This is evident with the latest legislation set to hit the EU market next year – introducing tethered lids to plastic bottles.

“It’s clear that sustainability and recycling efforts are remapping the food industry, and are responsible for several changes to regulations brought into effect. In 2018 the European Commission proposed attached lids for single-use plastic drinks bottles. It was certainly controversial, with some multinational brands lobbying against it, arguing that the investment would be better spent on other recycling initiatives,” Ashbury food regulatory expert Janet Dalzell explains.

“Despite this, as of July 2024, all single-use drinks bottles with plastic lids which have a capacity of up to 3L may only be sold in the EU if the lids are attached during both storage and usage (under directive 2019/904). The date by which Member States had to transcribe this into National law fell after the UK had left the EU, and so this is not currently mandatory for the UK market.

“In order to meet the deadline, many brands have been trialling this new design over the past few months – receiving mixed reviews from consumers. Confusion as to why selected brands are opting to attach lids to bottles has been reported, as well as some consumers unaware of the positive recycling motivations behind it. But as understanding increases through the mass market, we hope the recycling, practical, and hygienic benefits become more apparent and accepted.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

“Let’s not forget the initial confusion in the mid-to-late 1970s when retained ring pulls on cans were introduced – majority of consumers were unaware that they were intended to stay on and instead were actively trying to detach them.

“Fast forward 50-odd years and few of us think twice about them when opening a beverage. With some tweaking based on consumer feedback and communicating the what, why, and when to the market, the attached plastic lids may also soon become the new normal.

“Currently the legislation is set to be introduced only throughout the EU market, so why are tethered bottle lids already hitting the UK shelves? There’s no need to panic, and no need for any changes to be made imminently. Many of the bigger brands will of course mass produce their products, meaning adaptations are rolled out in multiple locations simultaneously. And a ‘successful’ launch in the EU may well see markets across the globe adopting the same approach shortly after, and so most others are simply just trying to stay ahead of the game.”

innocent drinks is one of the brands proactively introducing the tethered lids in the UK market.

Jon Waters, Technical Packaging Team Leader at innocent drinks, explains: “The move to attached caps is an important step in making recycling easier for everyone and is essential in supporting innocent’s commitment to a circular economy. The new design ensures that the cap stays connected to the bottle after opening, so that it is less likely to be littered and making it easier to recycle both parts together.

“The aim is to improve how much plastic gets recycled, reducing the amount of plastic used in bottles and helping to stop littering too. Whilst the UK is exempt from the European legislation, innocent will be introducing attached caps to our bottles in all markets later this year as part of our commitment to making it easier for our drinkers to recycle the entire packaging.”

Janet added: “We understand that brands are currently contending with a number of recycling related changes, with Deposit Return Schemes seeming to be the main priority for many. But as we approach the enforcement date, I’m sure additional brands will be adopting tethered lids, and we’ll begin to see more and more of these products available in the UK.

“So, what do UK brands need to know? While there are no expectations for them to make any immediate changes, it’s vital to be aware of the Directive and the impact it is having on the EU market. Being prepared for the potential that there may be some variation of the new rules enforced in the UK in coming years is key.

“While it has potential to reduce littering and increase recycling, there are of course challenges as lids (as well as being tethered) must include an increased percentage of recycled content, be widely recyclable across local authorities, and meet requirements for storage, production and use.

“The food manufacturing and retail sector needs to communicate with consumers about why the changes are happening in the EU – and why and when they may happen here, too – to ensure the public understand the eco-friendly aim of the directive. Ironically, we’d encourage not keeping a lid on it – communication really is key here to share the environmental reasons why tethered lids may become standard across the globe.”