Associations pressuring the European Parliament: end packaging regulation

The proposed Packaging Regulation under discussion in the European Parliament, if approved in its current formulation, would cause strongly negative effects on national production chains and consumers, calls into question recycling where Italy is a leader and does not take into account more sustainable solutions , such as fully biodegradable bioplastics. This is stated by Coldiretti, Filiera Italia, Cia, Confapi, Ancc-Coop, Ancd-Conad, Legacoop, Legacoop Agroalimentare, Legacoop Produzione&Servizi, Ue.Coop, Flai Cgil, Fai-Cisl and Uila-Uil who promoted a meeting in Brussels, that more than 40 Italian MEPs belonging to all political forces registered with a view to voting on the EP report during the plenary session on 21 November.

The aim is to recreate the transversal axis of Italian MEPs, regardless of political affiliation, which must be overcome when serious interests for the entire country are at stake, emphasizing for the first time the fact that Italy is a leader in fully biodegradable bioplastics and that These can constitute an element of strength even with countries taking different positions, representing indisputably sustainable solutions.

In recent years, Italy has become a global reference point for innovative recyclable materials and has already achieved recycling targets higher than those of the vast majority of other countries: the global packaging recycling rate in Italy has reached 73.3 % in 2021, exceeding the target of 70% established for 2030, placing our country in second place in Europe in packaging recycling per capita. Calling into question this already consolidated model – according to the Associations – runs the risk of nullifying the efforts and objectives achieved so far, generating an extremely wide-ranging impact that risks affecting more than 30% of our Gross Domestic Product.

In fact, the damage would not only be limited to packaging companies, but would affect our country’s fundamental supply chains, such as the entire agri-food sector, from production to processing and distribution, placing tens of thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk. of work. The proposal would also have an impact on a sector such as compostable and fully biodegradable bioplastics, by introducing a series of limitations on use, effectively limiting innovation in packaging and not allowing a return on the huge investments made in innovation and in the world’s first biorefineries. in operation. today, of which Italy is the leader through companies such as Eni Versalis – Novamont which, together with other public subsidiaries and national champions, join Filiera Italia. We are talking about bioplastics and bioproducts from renewable sources intended to protect soil and water, through the conversion of industrial parks that are no longer competitive, respecting local specificities and in partnership with all those involved in the supply chain. The leadership that our country holds in these innovative products is further confirmed by the fact that China and the United States are trying to imitate these innovative products and processes in their race for industrial development in biomanufacturing.

For the agri-food sector in particular, the proposal has a negative impact on the packaging of the products themselves, putting at risk current food safety and quality standards, but also the shelf life of the products themselves, with the consequent risk of increased waste due to the greater perishability of foods sold without packaging. An indicative example is represented by the ban that this proposal introduces on fruit and vegetable packaging in quantities of less than 1.5 kilos, a requirement that would determine the definitive disappearance of the minimally processed sector in which Italy is the world leader. Another representative example would be the obligation to switch from recycling to reuse in the sector with difficulty in replacing, for example, in the takeaway service, recyclable disposable tableware with plastic material to be reused that would have to be returned by the consumer always to the original restaurant. This helps to understand how, according to all the latest scientific evidence, the reusable packaging that the European Commission would like to impose has a greater impact than single-use packaging, leading to a 180% increase in CO2 emissions and approximately 240% more energy consumption. ‘waterfall. All this would also generate – the Associations conclude – a further increase in production costs for the entire agri-food chain, with serious repercussions on the prices paid by consumers at a time of great economic difficulty.

Source: IL Tempo