EXPRA co-signs position on the EU ‘Own Resource on Unrecycled Plastic Packaging’

24 February 2020: A Common Industry Association Position Paper on the EU ‘Plastics Levy’ was released today, signed by 59 stakeholders from several European industry value chains. EXPRA joined the European industries voicing their concern regarding the envisaged introduction an EU-wide plastics levy as an own resource in the new multiannual financial framework.

As EXPRA, we are concerned that a levy on non-recycled plastic packaging would exert further pressure on EPR systems dealing with these materials at times when these face new waste legislation, calling for enhanced responsibilities over the end-of-life management of their producers’ packaging, including that made of plastics. Under the new regulatory framework, additional legal commitments will be assumed by both producers and their EPR schemes at significantly higher costs. In this light, EPR’s sustainability, as well as the competitiveness of small and medium-sized companies across the EU, could be threatened by the additional economic burden that said tax would entail.

Furthermore, a levy on non-recycled plastic packaging can have a negative impact on the life cycle of products. It could lead packaging producers to consider alternative solutions such as combining plastics with other materials. However, these multi-material packaging items are often more difficult to recycle. Some of the substitute materials could also prove to be less effective against food waste and increase CO2 emissions.

In the European Green Deal, the Commission clearly states: “extended producer responsibility will also be strengthened”. More detailed measures supporting this goal are expected with the announcement of the new Circular Economy Action Plan on 10 March 2020. We fear that the adoption of a plastics levy would therefore divert from this target and is not in line with facilitating the smooth operation of EPR schemes and their considerable contribution to the transition towards a Circular Economy.

Yoy can read the declaration here.