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Conclusions

The use of recycled plastics can bring competitive advantages to food packaging producers other than the improved environmental performance of their products, such as cost savings, improvement of corporate image, green marketing and access to new markets, encouragement of eco-innovation and preparation for future environmental regulations. There are three different possibilities available for manufacturers to incorporate mechanically recycled plastics in food packaging: (1) use of offcuts and scraps from the production of plastic food contact materials (i.e., pre-consumer waste), (2) use of recycled plastics from processes authorised by EFSA, and (3) use of recycled plastics behind a functional barrier. The use of functional barriers is the only option allowing to use recycled post-consumer plastics from waste with non-food contact origin. To this end, the effectiveness of the functional barriers to prevent migration of substances into the food must be scientifically demonstrated on a case-by-case basis, since it can depend on many factors that may significantly vary from one case to another.

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