PlasticsEurope pushes for greater resource efficiency at European Parliament roundtable

Is the EU on track to achieve its ambitious climate change targets? This question, often asked but hardly answered confidently, has been extensively covered in the European Parliament on July 12. Building on its proactive approach and the crucial role plastics play in the field of resource efficiency, PlasticsEurope has called for greater cooperation and for the improvement of end of life practices.

On the occasion of the Polish Presidency, PlasticsEurope and the Parliament magazine co-organised a discussion panel on EU climate change targets which brought together representatives of the Polish presidency, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the plastics industry. The situation is critical: according to Nathalie Creste, head of unit DG Climate Action, current policies will only lead to 40% emission cuts by 2050, whereas the EU objective is to reduce them by 80%. Adding to this issue is the fact that the EU commitment to increase energy efficiency needs greater efforts to be achieved, and that end of life practices have to be dealt with urgently.

MEP Boguslaw Sonik, host of the event, highlighted how the EU is partially responsible for this situation. According to him, "people are tired of the European forcefulness on this issue. Politicians should be prepared to have a frank and opened discussion and convince citizens of the importance of their action”. He outstretched his hand to the plastics industry as well, saying that he was "pleased to observe its determination” and that the EU "must work in cooperation with the industry rather than imposing something from above”.

The plastics industry has indeed much to offer. "We are committed to a proactive approach”, said Wilfried Haensel, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope, before reminding the industry’s target of a zero plastics waste society. Plastics is not only a key to economic growth, but it also represents, as one of the speakers, Harald Pilz from Denkstatt, insisted, a material that already helps reduce energy consumption by 57% and GHG emissions by 61% throughout its whole life cycle.

Poland is one of those countries where there is much room for improvement. With 8000 companies and a great potential for growth, the Polish plastics industry sees 70% of its products ending up in landfills. "Targeted action is critically needed”, said Paul Augustowski, CEO and President of Basell Orlen Polyolefins. According to Beata Wizniewska, Head of environment section at the Permanent representation of Poland, this means looking at end of life solutions and being environmentally conscious at the moment of planning and designing new products. While 2050 remains the target, all participants agreed that cooperation and contribution from both the EU and the industry was the key to a mid-term success in 2020.

More information

Vew the panel's prentations, photos and an online Parliament Magazine story here.