European plastics association offers to help “finetune” EMF's new plastic commitment

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The European Plastics Converters Association (EuPC) has welcomed a recent initiative by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation aimed at making packaging more environmentally-friendly - but at the same time has also offered to help “finetune” it.

Representing 50.000 SMEs, EuPC said in a 30 Oct statement that it was ready to offer its expertise to improve the global commitment which, the association noted somewhat acerbically, had been drafted “only by a few individuals without consulting the plastics converting industry.” Hence, while acknowledging the need to tackle marine litter EuPC said it regrets that it cannot actively participate in, what it termed, 'this exercise’.  

The EMF initiative, launched as the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, was announced during the 2018 Our Ocean Conference, held in Bali, Indonesia, 29-30 Oct.

The pledge aims to create a new scenario for plastic packaging by eliminating single-use packaging materials, increasing the amount of reused or recycled plastics in new products and promoting innovation to ensure 100% of plastic packaging can be reused, recycled, or composted by 2025.

The commitment also includes moving away from “problematic” packaging and using significantly more recycled plastic in packaging itself.

“We believe that together, plastics converters are the best placed industry to define the vision for our industry in a sustainable world, with well performing waste collection systems and more circular designed products,” EuPC said.

Another point of regret, said EuPC, was the fact that the commitment had failed to attract the countries where the plastic problem was the biggest and educational campaigns were needed.

“Local actions must be carried out in short time since apparently 80% of the world market is made of brands who are not signatories of the EMF vision,” the industry association pointed out.

In Europe, EuPC said it was pursuing a “bottom up approach” to recycling, adding that more collection and sorting of plastics waste were essential “even in Europe”.

The idea is to work closer together top down with brands and bottom up with SMEs to make plastics circularity happen.

The European association also said that it was working on an ambitious project in digitalising the use of recycled polymers per country, polymer and final applications.

The project will be presented during the ‘European Plastics Industries - Towards Circularity’ event to be held in Brussels, 11 Dec.

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