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15-11-18 - Mark Macaré

FINAT Public Affairs Blog #7

As part of the wider Circular Economy Package which has entered into force in July 2018, the European Commission is also rolling out its Plastics Strategy to increase recyclability of plastics, reduce the consumption of single-use plastics and to restrict the intentional use of microplastics.

On the 31st of October, Member States agreed their position for interinstitutional negotiations on the so-called Single-Use Plastic proposal. The proposal is aimed at reducing marine litter by banning the 10 single-use plastic items most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas. As a result of European Parliament amendments, the proposal has been extended to include some paper products containing plastics:

  • Cups for beverages, burger boxes, one portion containers for fruits, vegetables, desserts or ice-cream – consumption reduction of at least 25% by 2025.
  • Paper plates with plastic are suggested to be banned from the market.

Through CITPA (paper and board converting industry) FINAT has closely followed discussions on the Directive and we will discuss the potential impact on our industry, as well as what further actions are needed from our side at the upcoming CITPA meeting end of November. Related to this, we are currently looking into a project initiated by CEPI to develop Recyclability guidelines for paper & board and how this would affect our industry. Again, this will be something up for discussion later in November.

Another topic that has come to the forefront recently is the interface between chemicals, products and waste legislation. In this context, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is developing a proposal for a database with data on substances of very high concern (SVHCs) in articles. At a stakeholder meeting last month, ECHA introduced a first scenario of how this database might function and what data it would contain. The REACH Cross-Sector Group, in which FINAT has a seat, has provided extensive feedback to the proposal, with worries about the confidential business information and the administrative burden being our main reservations for now. We will continue the discussion to ensure the final proposal will be workable for industry.

While FINAT has always had a strong representation in the various Paper and Board platforms, we are now aiming to establish closer connections with the plastics industry. As a start, we are currently discussing possible membership of Petcore, a platform representing the complete PET value chain in Europe, where one of the focus points is the impact af self-adhesive labels on the recyclability of PET bottles.

Finally, a recurring theme in this blog has been the Q&A document concerning the use of serialized labels in the EU falsified medicines directive. End of September, another new version has been issued, with again some progress for our industry. Still, more work is needed to gain the approval of serialization by labels using all available means. Closely linked to this is the vote on a new ISO standard, which was basically the conversion of the existing CEN standard, EN 16679 “Tamper Verification Features on Medicinal Product Packaging”, for which FINAT requested the national self-adhesive label associations to support this vote through their local standardization bodies.

Meetings in October and beginning of November

1 October

European Recovered Paper Council, Brussel

The bi-annual group meeting to discuss progress on recycling activities, recycling statistics and new EU legislation. One of the key topics was the revision of the guidance document on recyclability of printed products. Ultimately, it was agreed to set up a specific taskforce to review the document in a stand-alone meeting, so it could be adopted at the next meeting in Q1 2019.

8-9 October

TC (sub-)committee meeting, Milan

Half-yearly progress meeting of the various committees in Milan. One of the main regulatory topics for discussion was the reclassification of D4, D5 and D6 Cyclic Siloxanes and their potential impact on the self-adhesive label industry. Key takeaway from the presentation at the Technical Committee was the concentration of these substances in articles from our industry were well below the limit to trigger the need for action.

25 October

RadTech Europe Food Packaging Seminar and possible UVFoodSafe steering meeting

The RadTech Europe Food Packaging Seminar focused on the latest developments in technology, chemistry, analytics and regulations for the printing of food packaging with UV and EB curing technology.

At the UVFoodSafe Steering Group meeting, the upcoming taskforce meeting on the 29th of November was prepared, and testing possibilities for migration and in-line cure analysis were discussed.

6 November

REACH Cross-Sector Group, Brussels

The REACH Cross-Sector Group focuses on regulatory developments in chemical legislation, with a main point of interest currently being the REACH – Waste interface and the work of the European Chemicals Agency to set up a database for substances of very high concern in articles.

Upcoming meetings in November and December

21 & 22 November

The International Confederation of Paper and Board Converters in Europe, Environmental and Product Safety working groups, Paris

A halfyearly progress meeting to discuss developments in food safety and environmental regulation.

29 November

ESVOC BREF STS working group, Brussels

A meeting to prepare for the finalization of the BREF STS document in Seville in December.

29 November

UVFoodSafe meeting, Schiphol

This meeting of the two subgroups on process and print of the UVFoodSafe initiative will focus on the projectplans and the next steps to start actual testing of print set-ups.

5 December

Downstream Users of Chemicals Platform meeting (CheMI), Brussels

The halfyearly meeting to discuss the latest developments in chemical legislation and its impact on end-users, as well as to coordinate efforts to improve legislation for the downstream-user industry.

3-6 December

Paper and Plastics in contact with foodstuffs conference, Vienna

A conference highlighting the latest regulatory developments in food contact materials.

10-14 December

BREF STS finalization meeting, Sevilla

A meeting to finalize the BREF STS document together with Member State representatives, the Joint Research Centre and industry representatives.