This is set against a significantly worsening supply situation:
- Allocated supplies for polyethylene and polypropylene, with increasingly common supply interruptions.
- Rapidly escalating ethylene prices driving up the price of several polymers.
- Announcements of any return to normal supply conditions or on the trends ahead.
The four organisations say that unless we have security of supply for our raw materials then we do not have a truly sustainable plastics packaging industry, which has traditionally accounted for more than one third of Europe's polymer consumption.
It is understood that polymer producers are increasingly likely to invest in the faster growing markets of Asia and the Americas. Consequently there is unlikely to be significant investment forthcoming to support the European marketplace. An ageing plant is more prone to breakdown and likely to suffer from the maintenance issues frequently cited as a cause of the 'forces majeures'. Only new investment will correct this situation, say the four organisations.
They say that Europe is a global leader and powerhouse of innovation not only in plastics packaging technology but also in waste management organisation and techniques such as recycling and the incorporation of recyclate into plastics packaging products. The development of this expertise here in Europe can support the stronger evolution of plastics packaging markets and indeed the acceptance of plastics packaging around the world. For this we need the polymer producers to invest in the production of their raw materials here in Europe.
The four organisations also paid tribute to plastics packaging converters who have been skilfully managing this situation of interrupted supply and higher prices in the last months. This has been a high wire balancing act amid conditions not witnessed for many years, they say.