EP Plenary Vote on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment
PlasticsEurope supports policy makers’ joint efforts to put policies in place to reduce marine litter. However, we are concerned that the measures voted today will end up being unworkable and will risk hindering the proper implementation and enforcement of the Directive by leaving the door open to endless interpretations by national regulators and waste operators and by generally blurring the market.
With regards to the definitions for ‘plastic’ and ‘single use plastic product’ and some of the categories, we consider that they remain ambiguous. This will lead to problems in interpretation and implementation at national level with the consequence of the internal market being fragmented.
We are also concerned that the measures adopted are disproportionate. Bans are not the solution. They will discourage investments that are crucial to further develop technologies and infrastructure to recycle plastics. The root causes of marine litter are improper waste management, a lack of awareness and littering behaviour: these are independent of material type. Moreover, producers are doing their share to tackle these problems by financing EPR schemes. However, they do not have the means to solve the litter problem alone. It is only with the help of other stakeholders, including private or public waste operators and local authorities, that plastics manufacturers can take action in order to find workable solutions.
We consider that the speed of the process did not allow enough time for a complete life cycle assessment of alternatives. Additionally, we consider it essential, for the purpose of this Directive, to limit its scope to the most problematic product categories, as supported by the evidence provided in the JRC report and regardless of the polymer used. Singling out specific polymers, such as food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) is discriminatory and in the case of EPS, not supported by the evidence provided in the JRC report.
PlasticsEurope calls for a Directive in line with its original scope to reduce marine litter based on the top ten categories included in the JRC reports.
Commenting after the plenary vote, Karl-H. Foerster, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope, said: “We trust that the upcoming trilogue discussions will bring about further changes to the text so that these objectives are met.”