In May 2018, the EU announced a new Directive on how to deal with single-use plastic products. Under the Directive, in the future, drinks will only be allowed to be sold in plastic containers if the cap remains attached to the container. This has made the subject of tethered caps omnipresent in the beverage industry. Since the announcement, our specialists have been working hard to find solutions for beverage caps that meet the requirements. In this article, we will explain the content and purpose of EU Directive 2019/904 and present corvaglia’s solutions following the new regulatory requirements.
The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have published the EU Directive on June 5, 2019. In the introduction the purpose for the new regulation is laid out:
“The high functionality and relatively low cost of plastic means that this material is increasingly ubiquitous in everyday life. While plastic plays a useful role in the economy and provides essential applications in many sectors, its growing use in short-lived applications, which are not designed for re-use or cost-effective recycling, means that related production and consumption patterns have become increasingly inefficient and linear.
Therefore, in the context of the Circular Economy Action Plan laid down in the Communication of the Commission of 2 December 2015 entitled ‘Closing the loop – An EU action plan for the Circular Economy’, the Commission concluded in the European Strategy for Plastics laid down in its Communication of 16 January 2018 entitled ‘A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy’ that the steady increase in plastic waste generation and the leakage of plastic waste into the environment, in particular into the marine environment, must be tackled in order to achieve a circular life cycle for plastics.”
The EU states, “beverage containers that are single-use plastic products should only be allowed to be placed on the market if they fulfil specific product design requirements that significantly reduce the dispersal into the environment of beverage container caps and lids made of plastic.” Article 6 of the directive gives a more detailed insight. According to this article, caps and lids made out of plastic may be placed on the market only if the caps and lids remain attached to the containers during the products’ intended use stage.
Tethered caps will become mandatory in the EU in July 2024.
Our CEO Dr. Michael Krueger sums up the key criteria for corvaglia:
“During the development of our concepts, we focused on ensuring 100% compatibility with existing bottling lines and improving the drinking experience for the consumer and at the same time we wanted to minimize additional use of material.”
There is a lot to consider when planning and designing these new solutions. Most importantly, the requirements of the EU Directive, which will be laid out in more detail in a CEN standard that is currently being drafted, have to be met. Tethered caps also have to offer customers the same physical performance as standard closures. Last but not least, tethered caps ideally need to be implementable without the need for modifications to the neck finish and filling systems and without any loss of efficiency in the handling and filling processes. The tethered cap solutions from us check all the abovementioned boxes.
The experience of designing closures using different types of tamper-evident bands and manufacturing technologies has enabled us to develop a wide range of tethered cap solutions. Three concepts are worthy of special mention here: film hinge caps, lasso caps, and shift caps.
Film hinge caps have an opening angle of 180 degrees and can be easily locked into a defined position with an audible ‘click’. A consumer can drink from the bottle or pour the content without the lid part of the cap getting in the way at all. For most neck finishes, the weight of the film hinge caps is the same as that of the standard caps.
Lasso caps have an opening angle of more than 180 degrees without a lock. This concept features a particularly user-friendly reclosing option. There is also no material added for most cap types for this solution. As a result, the lasso and the film hinge solutions profit entirely from the progress we have made in lightweighting our cap portfolio over the last three decades.
We will gradually introduce the film hinge and lasso caps for various kinds of neck finish during the next few years. With the shift cap concept, we have already developed the next step in the evolution of tethered caps. Shift caps can simply be tucked away on the container after opening. The advantage of this is that the cap does not get in the way despite staying on the bottle. The solution can be used for all drink types. A patent is pending for the concept.