Plastic packaging manufacturers have rigorously evaluated Europe's measures in response to the EU's single-use plastic directive. Criticism is directed first at the EU directive itself, which was hastily adopted in 2019 and left many questions unanswered. It also criticizes the fact that many member states - unlike Germany - have not implemented the directive on time and in some cases have even exceeded it.
"Many ambiguities in the directive and its varying implementation in terms of speed and content mean that a patchwork of different regulations will apply to many packages in Europe in the future," criticized the medical expert. Martin Engelmann, Chief Executive of the IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen.
In the EU, there are actually uniform requirements for packaging to protect the internal market. IK pointed out that only seven member states, including Germany, are putting certain single-use plastic products on the market for the first time, such as straws or certain EPS products, from July 3, 2021. IK is also critical of national "isolated solutions" such as Italy's proposed exemption for bio-based plastics, the exemption for plastic-coated paper cups or the French labeling regulations. IK sees one reason for the slow and varying implementation of EU requirements in the committee's guidelines for interpreting directives, which were issued too late and sometimes contradicted each other.
"The chaotic implementation of the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive is a wake-up call for policymakers to refrain from such populist snapshots in the future," Engelman said - including for the upcoming revision of the EU Packaging Directive. "Further subdividing the internal market into different packaging regulatory areas will not only make it more difficult to exchange predominantly packaged goods in the EU, but will also undermine the goal of a packaging circular economy. In the end, consumers will foot the bill - through price increases.