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Close-up of the new cap on the connected plastic bottle tethered cap

Tethered caps and the EU Directive 2019/904

November 8, 2023

The use of screw caps on beverage containers, whether on milk cartons or PET bottles, is undoubtedly practical. Nevertheless, screw caps are under scrutiny in the EU due to their environmental impact. The EU Directive 2019/904also known as the Single-Use Plastics Directive, has attracted a lot of attention in this context. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the tethered caps and fastened screw caps that are part of this directive.

The EU Directive 2019/904: an overview

Directive (EU) 2019/904 was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 5 June 2019. Its aim is to reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, in particular the marine environment and human health, and to promote the transition to a circular economy. It contains various measures, including sales bans, product requirements, labelling obligations and extended producer responsibility.

What are tethered caps?

Tethered caps are an important part of this directive and primarily concern beverage containers, in particular beverage containers with a capacity of up to three litres. The directive stipulates that from 3 July 2024, the closures of these containers must be firmly attached to the containers during the period of use. This means that the screw caps can no longer simply be unscrewed.

However, this regulation has brought with it technical challenges, as screw caps are normally designed to be easy to turn. The problem is to design the closures so that they are securely fastened but still easy to open. As a result, bottles with tethered screw caps are already on the market and they can cause confusion for consumers.

However, the general population will very quickly get used to the new standard and in a few years will no longer question it at all.

tethered caps for pet bottles
Tethered caps and the EU Directive 2019/904

The situation for tethered caps in Switzerland

This directive is not mandatory for beverage producers in Switzerland, as Switzerland is not a member of the EU and has not (yet) adopted the regulation. However, most beverage producers in Switzerland will probably still adapt, because as soon as they want to export to the EU, they will have to comply with this regulation. 

It probably also makes little sense for the cap manufacturers to continue producing the previous cap variant, which will no longer be authorised in the EU, exclusively for the Swiss market. 

The future of beverage bottle sustainability

Tethered caps are a step in the right direction to reduce the environmental impact of single-use plastics. The Single-Use Plastics Directive obliges manufacturers to contribute to the take-back and disposal of single-use plastic items. This extended producer responsibility will help to ensure that more single-use plastics are properly disposed of and recycled.


EU Directive 2019/904 and the requirements for tethered caps are crucial steps towards reducing the environmental impact of single-use plastics. Although the implementation poses technical challenges, these are necessary to create a more sustainable future. By manufacturers, consumers and governments working together, we can ensure that single-use plastics find their way into recycling and do not pollute the environment.

We hope that this blog post has given you a better understanding of tethered caps and the EU's Single-Use Plastics Directive. These are important steps towards a more environmentally friendly future.

If you need support with the switch to tethered caps, we will be happy to help you!

In our range, we offer these "tethered caps" for our various bottle types. These are now being added to our shop on an ongoing basis. Can't find the type or colour you want? Do you have any other questions about these new items, the switch to tethered caps or the directive in general? We are happy to help you!

About the author

Portrait photo of Thomas
Thomas Stutz has 20 years of experience in packaging development and sales. His qualifications include a federal certificate as a marketing specialist and federal diplomas as a sales manager and packaging manager. With in-depth expertise and a passion for innovative solutions, he is an experienced expert in the packaging industry.

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