Today, the European Plastic Pact has been officially launched under the aegis of the Environment Ministries of, amongst other countries, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Denmark. The aim of the pact is to set ambitious common objectives and to encourage cooperation, innovation and harmonisation at the European level, in order to bring about a truly circular European plastics economy along the whole value chain.
The Pact wishes to rely on “pioneers” of the industry and on the most committed governments “in order to create a bold movement that will pave the way for the rest of the market” (source). Since the early discussions, in April 2019, the Dutch authorities have been very keen on having a rapid answer to the issue of single-use plastics packaging, wishing to advance at a faster pace and with more ambitious goals than existing European initiatives.
In fact, the Pact today has a clear list of objectives concerning reduction targets, minimum recycled content and increased recycling targets, thus mirroring the views of the Ellen McArthur Foundation and of the recent French Law on Circular Economy.
For EuPC, as the trade association of plastics converters in Europe, it would be difficult to be part of this new Pact for many reasons. Alexandre Dangis, EuPC Managing Director states:
Company (many SMEs) and association members are already very much engaged in the European Commission’s Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) and the industry’s voluntary commitments, as well as the new national plastic pacts and legislative obligations coming from the SUP Directive and revised waste regulation. At the same time, EuPC understands the urgency of dealing with plastic waste and marine litter but quick fixes cannot give long-term solutions. Reducing plastic single-use items or increasing recycling targets cannot resolve the issues such as mismanagement of waste or bad behaviours. Pioneering countries are countries that have abandoned landfilling plastics waste that can be recycled and this is not the case for certain signatories of this new Pact. A direct link with Industry Ministries to assess the impacts on the competitiveness of the plastics industry in Europe threatening many jobs is missing but maybe the Circular Plastics Alliance will help to create this assessment.
Therefore, for all the above-mentioned reasons, and for a matter of coherence, EuPC has decided to not sign the European Plastic Pact. EuPC was today present at the official launch of the Pact and will keep on monitoring its evolution for the years to come to ensure that there is no duplication of efforts, wishing real industrial pioneers to lead the way in a constructive manner for Europe.
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