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Division between producers and recyclers over EU plastics vote

Waste

European plastics producers have warned that new EU legislation to combat single-use plastics could adversely affect health and hygiene.

By contrast, European waste management association Fead commended MEPs for backing minimum recycled content in packaging.

On 24 October, the European Parliament voted through a number of wide-ranging measures to tackle pollution from single-use plastics including a 90% recycling target for plastic bottles, 35% minimum recycled content in beverage containers and a ban on plastic straws and drinks stirrers.

But plastics industry association EuPC criticised MPs for “rushing through” the policies and urged them to think again.

EuPC managing director Alexandre Dangis said: “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.”

The proposals will need to go through negotiations between the Commission and Parliament later this year.

The policy on minimum recycled content was upped from 25% to 35% at an EU Commission Environment Committee earlier this month. Fead president Jean-Marc Boursier said the vote was an “important first step”.

“I am confident that negotiators will succeed in deciding by December 2018 on a level of mandatory recycled content, to be transposed into EU law by 2025, which will trigger the uptake of plastic recyclates in beverage bottles.

“By doing so, the EU will finally experience a circular shift that is long overdue.”

 

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