Will tethered caps become mandatory in the EU in July 2024?



The point of the European Union’s policy on plastics is to protect the environment and human health. This is implemented by reducing marine litter, greenhouse gas emissions, and the world’s dependence on imported fossil fuels. 

In its effort to fight plastic pollution, the EU has implemented a new regulation: the development and distribution of tethered caps attached to containers, which is set to become compulsory this year. 

What is the EU directive for plastic/tethered caps?

The newest rollout of the EU’s Single-Use Plastics Directive will be implemented on the 3rd of July 2024. With a main aim of, among others, reducing environmental waste, this directive stipulates that all plastic caps must remain attached to the single-use plastic beverage containers (designed to hold up to three litres of liquid) after opening. This rule on tethered caps applies only to plastic containers and excludes metal- and glass containers. 

With a complete changeover to happen this year, consumers can become more accustomed to the new tethered-cap designs when drinking and pouring. The expectation is not only that this new directive will help to prevent approximately 10% of plastic litter strewn across European beaches (as the attached closures no longer end up in the environment), but to help facilitate the recycling of single-use beverage containers with lids and caps.  

What about the UK?

All member states of the EU are bound by this European regulation. The post-Brexit United Kingdom, however, needs to make an independent decision on whether to also adopt this directive or implement similar regulations to go green. This should present an interesting challenge for environmentally friendly brands that operate in both markets, since they may need to adhere to different requirements regarding plastic packaging in Europe. 

About new plastic packaging designs 

Various companies have already presented solutions for attached caps that comply with this directive. By and large, two main approaches have been pursued by cap manufacturers: the development of hinged tops and lasso closures. 

These approaches offer different concepts, with considerations depending on the type of machinery already in use, as well as the expected costs associated with required modifications. 

Benefits of tethered caps for the consumer

  • Easier to recycle: Since they are focused on sustainability, consumers and brands that are environmentally friendly will appreciate sustainably designed products to minimise littering. This also makes it easier to recycle both parts as one, since the caps are still attached to the packaging. 
  • Simple to use: As this directive doesn’t include major alterations to caps- and packaging designs, new tethered caps attached to containers remain easy to use. 
  • Consumer safety: Safety and consumer functionality are also taken into consideration, since tethered caps produce a convenient anti-swallow design, especially for consumers with young children. 
  • Hygiene: Since they can’t detach from the container and fall on the floor, tethered caps are more hygienic. 



Benefits of tethered caps for brand owners

  • No additional investment at filling locations: Since the new tethered caps can be implemented on existing- and new equipment, no adjustments on filling lines are necessary. 
  • Customisable: Environmentally friendly brands that adopt this new directive can personalise their tethered caps. Thus, the new tethered caps can be as simple, as colourful, or as unique as brands desire them to be. 

Go green with MBA Green

With over a decade of experience in the sustainable packaging industry, MBA Green knows the importance of looking after the environment. That is why we fully comply with the EU’s Single-Use Plastics Directive. Let us help you go green while reducing plastic packaging pollution – contact us today to place your order of bottles/containers with tethered caps.