The German plastic packaging industry association, IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen (IK), has rejected as “dangerous” and “counterproductive” a call by an Commissioner to place a general ban on plastic packaging in Europe.
In an interview with the German daily Die Welt published 13 Jan, the new EU Commissioner for Environment, Virginijus Sinkevicius said the Commission was evaluating a ban and setting new requirements for manufacturers.
In response to the call, IK said such moves would be “counterproductive” and urged the Commissioner to instead “do more to ensure that plastic packaging in Europe does not end up in landfills but is recycled.”
“The IK and the companies it represents expect the new EU Commission to make decisions based on facts and not on trends of the zeitgeist [time],” said the trade body in a statement 16 Jan.
Such statements, the IK added, are “dangerous” and cast doubt on the future of plastic packaging in a circular economy.
"The Commissioner should ask himself how his statement will be received by those who are about to decide on investments in recyclable packaging or recycling plants. If politicians exclude plastic packaging from the circular economy, these urgently needed investments will certainly not be made," said IK managing director Dr Martin Engelmann.
While a strict landfill ban has been in force in Germany since 2005, household waste may still be landfilled to a large extent throughout the EU until 2030.
While calling for a faster end to landfill, the IK also criticised the effect of blanket bans on consumers and the environment.
"Some politicians are currently suggesting to consumers and voters that blanket bans can be used to overcome the major challenges in environmental and climate protection. Unfortunately, they forget to mention the contribution plastic packaging makes, for example, to CO2 savings and food safety," Engelmann added.
The IK is a trade association representing the interests of manufacturers of plastic packaging and films in Germany and Europe.
Mainly constituting medium-sized companies, the European plastics packaging industry has more than 90,000 employees and generates an annual turnover of €15bn.
Plastic packaging currently has a 44% share of the German packaging market.