12 October 2018 by Joshua Doherty

Mixed reactions to EU recycled content proposals

Wednesday’s vote by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee to amend the Commission’s Single Use Plastics Directive has received mixed responses.

The committee said a minimum content requirement in plastic bottles would drive demand

And, the parent body of the UK’s British Retail Consortium,  described the amendments as “astonishing” and said the core principles of the legislation have been lost in “politically-driven debate”.

The Environment Committee on Wednesday voted to amend the legislation to include a target of 35% of recycled content in beverage bottles by 2025.

The committee passed a report which included the 35% target, saying that it will encourage the creation of a steady market for recyclates, and will ensure a more circular use of plastics.

A vote will now be held on October 23 during the plenary session when all MEPs will decide if they want mandatory recycled content in plastic bottles to be part of the single-use plastics legislation. The decisions then get referred back to the EU and the Council of Ministers for approval or rejection.

Welcomed

The amendments relates to an European Commission proposal on single-use plastics, in which MEPs voted overwhelmingly in-favour of (597-15) at a plenary session in September (see letsrecycle.com story).

FEAD, the body representing waste management companies across Europe, were among the first to welcome Wednesday’s amendment, describing it as a “key measure” in shifting away from the increasing production of single-use use plastic bottles.

In a statement, the body said: “Designing recyclable packaging items is necessary to facilitate recycling, and a strong signal is needed to boost both the offer of recyclable plastics and the demand of recycled plastics. The European Parliament’s report to include at least 35% of recycled plastics in beverage containers is a crucial first step in this direction, and we fully support its inclusion in the legal text.”

‘Boost demand’

FEAD’s viewpoint was echoed by the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) , which stated that it is long-overdue to focus on creating demand for recycled products.

“Over the last decades, European legislation primarily focused on the supply side by setting collection and recycling targets which play a key role in increasing recyclables and recycled materials available on the market,” a statement read.

It added: “It is time to boost the demand for recycled materials for streams such as plastics,  this is precisely what the target of 35% recycled content in beverage bottles by 2025 does by sending a strong market signal that will steer the demand for recycled plastics and reward its substantial environmental benefits.”

Strong concerns

However, from a European business perspective, the body which represents national federations and companies in the retail, wholesale and international trade sector criticised the plans.

Eurocommerce, whose members include the British Retail Consortium. Said that despite “strong concerns” raised by players in the entire supply chain, the Commission proposal and amendments to it fail to hit the right targets for how reduce littering.

The full parliament will vote later this month on if they want to adopt the committee’s recommendations

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “It is astonishing to see so many measures are being proposed in this Directive and the EP amendments, but how few actually tackle littering effectively. It is as if the core objectives of this Directive got lost somewhere in the politically-driven debate. This is a missed opportunity for Europe, and for finding real solutions to the problems of plastic pollution.”

 

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