UK MEP cautions against ‘undervaluing’ plastics

6 March 2018

Julie Girling, a member of the European Parliament’s environment, public health and food safety committee, has cautioned against some drastic measures to reduce or eliminate use of plastics.
In an opinion piece published by the European Parliament magazine, the MEP from the UK’s Conservative Party, said she could see the attraction of such drastic approaches, but was worried about food safety and food waste.
The use of plastics for food contact materials, said Girling, delivers the benefits of prolonged freshness, reduces cross-contamination and provides damage-free delivery to the consumer.
“[This] should not be undervalued,” she noted.
“I was pleased that the idea of a plastics tax, as proposed by European budget and human resources Commissioner Günther Oettinger, was not included in the plastics strategy,” wrote the MEP.
While the idea is not without its merits, she went on to say, such moves should be decided at a national level.
“Such a move from the Commission could have backfired badly,” she warned.
Voicing her support for moves such as banning the use of disposable plastic bags, the MEP said such measures, combined with increased recycling, could help to combat the issue of plastic wastes.
Referring to the plastics strategy, adopted by the European Commission in January, Girling said it should promote and enable a new attitude towards recycling throughout the food chain, from the farmer to the consumer.
Europe generates roughly 26 million tonnes of plastic waste a year, of which less than 30% gets recycled.