Publikováno: 15. 4. 2014
Retailers favour a comprehensive approach to reducing the environmental impact of plastic waste - would be best addressed in the review of the packaging directive later this year
Commerce points to negative side effects of plastic bags proposal
The European Parliament will tomorrow vote on the legislative proposal to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags. Plastic bags represent an extremely small portion of the total amount of plastic waste generated in the EU. Whilst the retail sector has carried out a number of voluntary measures to reduce the consumption of plastic bags, it considers that the European Institutions should tackle the issue in a more inclusive manner, focusing on plastic waste in general.
Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce said: “Retailers favour a comprehensive approach to reducing the environmental impact of plastic waste, which would have best been addressed in the review of the packaging and packaging waste directive later this year.”
EuroCommerce is concerned about the effects of the proposal to replace very lightweight plastic carrier bags used for fruit and vegetables, etc. (Amendment 33) by alternatives, which are not proven to be more environmentally friendly¹ and which are estimated to cost 2-3 times more. These higher packaging costs will result in higher prices for consumers. We call for these very lightweight plastic carrier bags to be exempted from the scope, given their practicality and until alternatives become more affordable.
The draft report also allows consumers to leave any packaging that they do not need at the till, asking that the retailer ensures that the packaging is correctly recycled and reused (Amendment 35). This proposal will impose huge burdens on retailers, who, within the limited space of their store, will be expected to sort and separate the packaging waste as well as ensuring its reusability and recyclability.
Mr. Verschueren added: “Retailers are not packaging experts. The diverse nature of packaging materials left in the stores by consumers will make it impossible for retailers to sort out what should be reused and what should be recycled. This proposal will, no doubt, lead to extended queues and increased confusion at the tills, if consumers are allowed to unpack and repack their items as they wish. Shops should not be considered as waste collection points.”
EuroCommerce is therefore calling on MEPs to reject amendments 33/35/37.
¹ 2011 report from the UK Environment Agency
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