PlasticsEurope’s reaction to the agreement on plastic bags: European Plastics Industry concerned about negative effects on EU Internal Market

PlasticsEurope has expressed its concerns regarding the agreement reached between Member States and negotiators from the European Parliament on the proposal on plastic bags

While the plastics industry supports a mandatory charge on all bags regardless of which material they are made from, the European plastics industry fears that the possibility for Member States to ban lightweight plastic bags sets a precedent which will lead to a patchwork of national regulations on other types of packaging as well, thereby creating trade barriers and hindering the EU internal market. 

"The possibility to ban plastics bags goes against the general principle of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. It is concerning as it opens the door for Members States to ban not only plastics bags but other types of packaging as well. Such an inconsistent political framework that would allow Member States to introduce different regulations on packaging would hinder investments and innovation and would create barriers to trade in packaged goods in Europe” said Karl-H. Foerster, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope. 

The European plastics industry, however, supports the imposition of a fee or tax on all carrier bags irrespective of the material, as it helps to raise consumers’ awareness and effectively prevents littering. "A mandatory charge is the best option as it has been proved to be an effective tool to reduce the over-consumption of lightweight plastic bags.” said Mr Foerster. "We should understand that plastics are too valuable to be thrown away. Charging for bags can have a positive effect on raising consumers’ awareness of the economic value of the resources that have been used to produce the bag” he expressed. 

While carrier bags are considered as packaging under the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, PlasticsEurope believes they should be treated differently to other types of packaging since they are independent from the packaged good.

PlasticsEurope would support a regulation on the use of so-called "oxo-degradable” plastics in Europe since independent studies have shown that the fragmentation process is often inadequate and that the chemicals used are detrimental to the recycling process. The review of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive will offer the opportunity to regulate such products.

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