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27-06-19 - Macaré, Mark

FINAT PA Blog #9

Summer recess and new European Parliament

As the current European Parliament’s term is about to end and ongoing negotiations with Member States on legislative proposals have been suspended, it is a good time to look back at the developments over the last few months.


Naturally, there has been no bigger topic than the scheduled departure of the UK from the European Union, which now has been scheduled to take place 31 October at the latest. With plenty of unclarity about the form this will take, we will keep you updated in the months to come. A good place to start would be here or here.

Single Use Plastics

Next week will see the launch of the much-discussed Single-Use Plastic directive, which has moved from legislative proposal to entry into force in record time. The directive will introduce a ban on selected single-use products made of plastics for which alternatives exist on the market. In addition, it will lay out measures to reduce consumption of plastic food containers and beverage cups and Extended Producer Responsibility schemes for the cost to clean-up litter. Finally, it introduces a 90% separate collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, as well as targets to incorporate 25% of recycled plastic in PET bottles as from 2025, and 30% in all plastic bottles as from 2030. The Directive includes differentiated dates for transposition concerning different measures. More information can be found here.

FINAT members can download a management overview prepared by the paperboard packaging converters’ umbrella organization CITPA (of which also FINAT is a member) from the members-only website.

Sustainability and (Design for) Recycling Agenda

The growing importance of sustainability and recycling was very much in evidence at the European Label Forum in Copenhagen, where it was a key part of the converter roundtable discussions, as well as several sessions. It was refreshing to see the discussion move beyond the confines of our own industry to include the labelled product, with presentations from Petcore and others focussing on the impact of labels on bottles and other materials. It was fitting that the FINAT Sustainability and Recycling award went to an initiative in that specific area. It is clear that in the coming years, we can expect growing legislative pressure and market pressure to decrease the environmental impact of our material.

Food Contact and other legislation.

In other legislative areas, developments have been much slower. When it comes to food contact material regulations, there has been no progress at EU level. All the more reason to make progress with our own work, and the UVFoodSafe project has done just that. The involved companies have undertaken initial tests with UV dose measurement techniques and inline cure measurement techniques, which will now be followed by full migration tests. Goal will be to establish if a correlation can be found between the actual migration test results and the UV dose and/or inline cure measurement techniques.

In chemical legislation, next to the preparations for Brexit, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has clarified plans for the evaluation of substances in the future. The current target to evaluate 5% of the submitted dossiers will be increased to 20% of all dossiers.

Finally, the revision of the Reference document for best available techniques for surface treatment using solvents (BREF STS) has been pushed back, with the release of the final document now expected early next year. The final draft confirmed that self-adhesive labels will not be covered in the document.

Have a great summer!