The Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) hosted a workshop for food manufacturers in the UAE focusing on recycled plastic packaging. The session aimed to raise awareness of the objectives of its project regarding permitting the use of recycled plastic for food packaging, the technical and safety requirements of recycled plastic materials intended to come into contact with food, and the process for obtaining conformity certification for such materials.

The workshop briefed manufacturers and suppliers to Federal Law Decree No. 20 of 2015 on food contact materials, emphasizing its importance in supporting manufacturing efforts and implementing sustainable production best practices, and introduced the updates regarding adding Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (rPET) to the list of products to which ECAS Food Contact Material certificate may be granted.

Participants included more than 70 representatives from food manufacturing and packaging companies, suppliers, plastic recycling companies, and members of the Circular Packaging Association. The workshop included a presentation from MoIAT’s Standards and Technical Regulations sector, which provided a comprehensive overview of services related to food contact materials including application, safety procedures, and quality practices.

The workshop also addressed manufacturer and supplier inquiries on the project.

Dr. Farah Ali Al Zarooni, Assistant Undersecretary of the Standards and Regulations Sector, said: “We are actively working to increase awareness within industry, in addition to generating high-quality investment opportunities that align with production efficiency standards and sustainability efforts. This aligns with MoIAT’s strategic objectives, which include creating an attractive business environment for local and international investors, in addition to supporting the growth and competitiveness of national industries. Our efforts are also in line with COP28 in the UAE, as recycling contributes to the circular economy, emission reduction and mitigating plastic pollution.”

He added: “The Ministry is keen on involving representatives from both the public and private sectors in awareness programs and welcomes their opinions. MoIAT supports projects that promote the use of recycled plastic for food and beverage packaging, which contributes to enhancing quality infrastructure and the industrial sector’s contribution to the national economy.”

The ministry aims to attract investment by encouraging the expansion of sustainable industries related to recycling. These efforts align with promoting circular economy initiatives in the UAE, ushering in a new investment approach within the packaging and labelling industry.

Dr. Al Zarooni also noted that the UAE has an advanced quality infrastructure system, managed by the Ministry alongside federal and local strategic partners. MoIAT’s efforts support economic growth and national sustainability, including the UAE’s commitment to developing a circular economy. Dr. Al Zarooni also noted that these efforts further enhance the efficiency and performance of the UAE's industrial sector, along with the quality of its products.

The workshop detailed the decree on food and beverage packaging. The session was well-received by companies, individuals, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders.

The decree allowing the use of recycled plastic for food packaging stipulates that the manufacturing facility must provide documentation demonstrating the implementation of an effective quality system and best practices.
It also requires a report indicating that the recycled product has passed tests conducted by an accredited laboratory within the UAE to ensure health and safety compliance, including migration tests for packaging materials. Additionally, a risk assessment report is required to ensure the quality and safety of recycled raw materials intended for use in food and beverage packaging.

During Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023 earlier this year, MoIAT announced Federal law No. 105 of 2022 on the circulation of bottled drinking water in recycled plastic bottles. The decree aims to promote recycling in industry, in line with the highest public health and food safety standards. It also aligns with the ministry's strategic direction and reinforces the UAE's efforts to conserve resources and achieve sustainability and contributes to the circular economy.