In an open letter sent to the European Commission, EuPC advocates for a postponement of the implementation of the Single-Use Plastics Directive in view of the current COVID-19 crisis in Europe. Single-use plastics are not easily substitutable and offer unique advantages when it comes to ensuring hygiene, safety as well as preservation from contamination to protect consumers.
Since the beginning, the Single-Use Plastics Directive2019/904 has proven to be a difficult piece of legislation to follow and implement both at commercial level and at national levelby Member States. Some crucial categories of items have been completely banned or reduced in their availability due to the (alleged) existence of a valid alternative. The Directive also hinders the Single Market and the free circulation of packaging and goods among European countries. When drafted and pushed in an extreme short period this “political” piece of legislation the EU Commissiondid not take into account the hygienic consequences of banning or reducing Single-Use Plastics. It only reflected on littering aspects.
"Today and tomorrow we are and will be in a completely different world where hygiene and consumer health will be the number one priority for all of us so it is time to reflect on adjusting strategies for Europe and the world in particular related to the use of plastics.
The term single-use plastics is completely wrong and not justified. To reduce littering an anti-litter regulation will be needed to impact both consumers and force industry in circularity thinking and keep going in this direction. The bashing on plastics followed by many politicians is now backfiring and its time to work together to rebuild the economy and safeguard consumer health whilst driving the circularity of the plastics industry." - says the EuPC.
Unfortunately, the Corona Virus(COVID-19) has shown that not all materials are the same. Single-use plastics are not easily substitutable, in particular in keeping the same hygienic properties to safeguard consumers. Many independent studies repeatedly show that plastics is the material of choice for ensuring hygiene, safety as well as preservation from contamination.
The freedom of circulation of these goods is necessary to keep hygiene, health and safety in the supply of many products, such as food contact materials, protective equipment, medical devises and medicines. We cannot afford, in any sense, to forget such basic precautions that plastic products can provide and is already providing in the field right now to assist in the fight against this crisis.
Therefore, EuPC is asking to inform all EU Member States of the postponement of the deadline for the implementation of the SUP Directive for at least an additional year at national level and to lift all bans on some of the single-use plastics items. Industry will continue to work on the circularity aspects with all value chains and maintain the objectives to reach 10 million T of use of recycled materials between 2025-2030.
For this, support will also be needed from the EU Commission by clearly accepting both mechanical and chemical recycling as complementary technologies to the common objectives in the CPA.The implementation postponement will give all EU MS more time to focus on more urgent measures in the fight against COVID-19 by distributing also SUP in emergency situations, whilst the industry will have the possibility to continue to produce all those plastic products and others that are needed and will be needed in the future