Possible Negative Effects for Health and Hygiene : EuPC Caution Over European Strategy on Single Use Plastic Waste Reduction

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Following the European Parliament’s adoption of its negotiating position on the Commission proposal on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, trade association European Plastics Converters (EuPC) has warned of the possible negative effects for health and hygiene.

The organisation noted that many MEPs shared its position in limiting the scope of a proposal that, since the beginning, it said has been rushed by the European Commission with possible negative effects for health and hygiene.

However, the majority of MEPs voted to limit single use plastics. The association argued that this is despite not only keeping the “vary vague” definition of single use as proposed by the Commission, but moreover increasing the categories of items to be reduced or banned.

Some MEPs agreed with EuPC that the impact that for many European SMEs such a proposal could have the consequence of having to choose an alternative without a sound Life Cycle Assessment.

EuPC Managing Director, Alexandre Dangis, commented: “It would be much better to set up a European Anti-littering Regulation (the same for all EU consumers) instead of banning products that will be replaced by other less environmentally friendly alternatives.

“Industry is ready to discuss this with regulators in order to enhance more waste collection, improve education, keep an EU internal market and avoid killing jobs in many SMEs. This may well lead to a piece of impractical additional EU legislation with many different interpretations at national level without coherent approach.”

For example, the organisation highlighted disposable plates and specific polymers, such as expanded polystyrene, which do not appear in the Joint Research Centre Study that the Commission used as a basis for its Risk Assessment.

Dangis concluded:“We fear that the rationale of the Directive, initially meant to cover the 10 most littered items, has been largely expanded to cover different plastics packaging categories. Many of these items are covered by the recently revised Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive, which has not had the time yet to deliver. The recent Waste Directives must be implemented and ensure that national measures for anti-littering behaviors are carried out for all packaging of any material, not only plastics.

For this reason, in the light of the coming activities and Trilogue, European Plastics Converters urge again MEPs and representatives of the Member States to stop this legislative process and take the time to understand what will be the impact of this Directive in reality for people and jobs in Europe.

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