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EU plastics industry criticizes proposal to ban single-use plastics

The European Plastics Converters association and the European Bioplastics trade association are both speaking out against the EU's proposed ban.


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May 30, 2018 by Canadian Plastics

Europe’s plastics industry is fighting back against the European Union’s proposed ban on many single-use plastics products.

Presented at a May 28 news conference in Brussels, the EU is proposing a ban on plastic straws, cotton earbuds, cutlery, balloon sticks, and drink stirrers, all of which are said to be the most commonly found single-use plastic products found on Europe’s beaches and seas.

In response, the European Plastics Converters association (EuPC) sent out a press release saying that it “regrets that the European Commission has put forward the proposal for a directive” targeting certain plastic products to reduce their impact on the environment.

“The proposal represents a symbolic attack on a category of poorly defined products, which leads to confusion of end users and causes fragmentation of the single market,” the statement said. “It contains a definition of single-use products that is misleading and does not reflect industrial classification.”

Noting that the proposed solutions “do not match the existing rationale of the Plastics Strategy and the Voluntary Commitments put forward by the plastics industry backed by the Commission itself,” the EuPC points out that on the one hand the Commission calls for life cycle assessments (LCAs) “in order to truly assess best environmental options” and, on the other hand, “restricts or bans certain products made of plastic without analyzing which option would be the most sustainable.”

“At a moment when the EU Commission is asking the industry to pledge or commit to more use of recycled plastics materials, it is also asking to ban certain recyclable products,” Alexandre Dangis, EuPC director, said in the statement. “This is the wrong signal, which will maintain the levels of landfill in the EU that we have today if European waste laws are not properly implemented. One could then argue whether the Commission is able to influence member states on proper environmental behavior, in line with existing directives. Instead, the EU Commission is attacking a part of the industry by banning products.”

The EuPC, which said it intends to participate in consultations about the ban with EU officials, called the ban “unacceptable” in its present form, and pledged to look at ways “to legally challenge the definition of single-use plastics.”

And the European Bioplastics trade association (EUBP) also voiced its concerns about the proposed ban. “The proposal is a meaningful addition to existing legislation and strategies; unfortunately, however, it remains vague regarding sustainable alternatives,” EUBP chairman François de Bie said in a statement.