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EUROPEN supportive of measures but call for careful evaluation

On October 24, 2018, the European Parliament adopted its report on single-use plastics (SUP). In a statement, the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN) says that it supports measures that address the problem of plastic pollution effectively, that are harmonised and implementable by Member States and industry. However, it is "concerned" that certain elements of the adopted resolution have not been "adequately examined" and might not achieve the SUP’s objectives.

EUROPEN, a cross-industry organization presenting the opinion of the packaging supply chain calls on the EU’s co-legislators to take the time to evaluate carefully the real impacts of the legislative proposal on single-use plastics (SUP) to ensure it delivers the intended environmental objectives in a harmonised EU Internal Market.

We regret the EP’s removal of the Internal Market safeguards for SUP measures that cover packaging items, as this will weaken policy coherence with other EU rules on waste and packaging. The Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive with its harmonised Essential Requirements should remain the sole appropriate legislation governing design and marking requirements applicable to all packaging, said Virginia Janssens, EUROPEN Managing Director.

According to Janssens, the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) should remain the sole, appropriate legal text to address producers’ extended responsibility, in line with nationally-defined roles and responsibilities of all concerned actors.

Incentives should be placed on all value chain partners, based on what each actor can control, to ensure cost-effective results. This should be no different for measures related to litter clean-up, Janssens said.

EUROPEN Chairman Hans van Bochove pointed out that the packaging supply chain has invested substantially in increasing separate collection and sorting for packaging waste, which helps avoid littering and helps “circularity”.

We see significant investment from producers in empowering consumers by contributing financially towards disposal and anti-littering awareness-raising campaigns, and by driving product, material and recycling innovation that support the transition to a circular economy. Legal clarity is essential to underpin these investments, but is lacking in this instance, for example with regard to which packaging falls under the SUP scope and which not. In addition, design requirements with significant impact such as the tethered caps proposal should be based on established facts and a thorough impact assessment, van Bochove said.

EUROPEN members from the plastics packaging supply chain have launched their corporate voluntary commitments on recycled content for plastics, as part of the EU pledging exercise aimed at achieving 10 million tonnes of recycled plastic by 2025.

According to EUROPEN, these public voluntary commitments on recycled content for plastics will help achieve the framework conditions for a more circular packaging value chain, such as the availability at competitive prices and quality of recycled plastics, essential among others to ensure food safety. The SUP proposal should support, not undermine, these efforts.

Virginia Janssens Managing Director EUROPEN
(photo courtesy EUROPEN).

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