Austrian packaging firm ALPLA admonishes EU's single-use plastics proposition

05 June 2018 12:39 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Austrian packaging solutions firm ALPLA have criticised proposed EU legislation on single use plastics, saying that banning individual products threatens the European Circular Economy Action Plan in its entirety.

On 28 May, the EU proposed new rules to target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear, which together account for 70% of all marine litter items.

According to the new rules, where alternatives are readily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market. This will apply to plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons, which will all have to be made exclusively from more-sustainable materials instead.

Single-use drinks containers made with plastic will only be allowed on the market if their caps and lids remain attached.

The EU has also set collection targets for member states, labelling requirements, awareness-raising measures as well as a list of obligations for producers which includes helping to cover the costs of waste management and clean up.

According to ALPLA CEO Gunther Lehner, the main issue with the proposed directive is that “the term ‘single use plastics’ is misleading and confuses conumsers. It creates the impression that these products are avoidable, although there are concrete grounds for single use, such as hygiene or transportation requirements”.

Lehner added that its imperative that consumers are made aware that packaging does not become worthless rubbish after use and that it in fact provides valuable raw materials for industry.

“By disposing of products properly, everyone can contribute to the circular economy and help prevent pollution of the world’s oceans,” Lehner said.

ALPLA’s comments come on World Environment Day, with plastics recycling taking centre stage across the world. The UN’s secretary general Antonia Guterres said that the UN’s message is a simple one: “Reject single-use plastic. Refuse what you can’t re-use.”

By Niall Swan