Associations send letter expressing concern of European plastics strategy to European Commission

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Multiple associations have sent a letter to European Commission vice president, Mr Frans Timmermanns, expressing their concerns over the current European plastics strategy developments. 

Within the letter, the associations said that the strategy poses three major risks to the production of plastics. 

One of their concerns is that the strategy is being created without a systematic outlook, meaning that the Commission is ignoring market mechanisms, competition, and the implications on the packaging chain, and in doing so, does not ensure equal treatment of all materials. 

The associations have called for the Commission to implement some of their suggestions in order improve the strategy, including an assessment of value chains within the petrochemical industry 

Another observation they made is that it risks failing to respect technological neutrality, as circular economy targets would remain lower for plastics than other materials, due to financial funding seeming to be in favour of materials that remain problematic.  

They are calling for the Commission to take a fair approach to materials, as they have not fully considered the life cycle of plastics or acknowledged the sustainable substitutes of packaging materials.  

The final point they make on the developments of the plastics strategy is that it is missing an opportunity for a low-carbon and circular economy. 

They have asked the Commission to ensure that public procurement rules are fair and not supporting just one material, such as recycled plastics, and instead choose other solutions, including renewable or over fossil-based plastics. 

Taxation on the use of plastic or positive encouragement to use sustainable materials is another element they have called for.  

While the associations have said that they share a common goal with the Commission, the creation of a sustainable circular economy, they have said that the strategy requires a much more systematic view by giving fair and equal treatment to all sectors. 

The members of the association include:  International Confederation of Paper & Board Converters, Confederation of European Paper Industries, The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment, European Producers of corrugated case materials, European Producers of Sack Kraft Paper and Kraft Paper, European Carton Makers Association, European Association of Makers of Packaging Papers, European Moulded Fibre Association, European Federation of Multiwall Paper Sack Manufacturers, European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers and the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard Manufacturers.