The European Parliament’s powerful environment, public health and food safety committee voted yesterday, 24 January, to reject proposals allowing EU countries to introduce national bans or other discriminatory restrictions on so-called “single use” packaging.
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“This is a victory for common sense,” says Mike Turner of International Paper Foodservice Europe and current chairman of Pack2Go Europe. “It is a first sign that policy makers are beginning to understand the need for disposable food and beverage service packs to guarantee food hygiene, consumer safety and public health in many aspects of modern life.”
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Over recent months there was much political debate about whether such market restrictions were a good idea. But on Monday this week, support from all mainline parties fell away, leaving an unlikely combination of green and right wing anti-EU parties in the European Parliament still pushing for bans.
A majority of MEPs realised that such measures would fundamentally undermine the packaging and packaging waste directive, one of the EUs most successful pieces of legislation; devastate the single market for packaging and packaged goods; and put food hygiene and consumer safety at risk.
MEPs were voting on a bundle of legislative proposals from the European Commission designed to modernise EU waste rules, make them more coherent and promote the development of a circular economy in Europe. The committee position must now be adopted by the full session of parliament in Strasbourg in March, before MEPs and the 28 member states can negotiate a final package.
“Pack2Go Europe has worked tirelessly to explain to MEPs that our packaging is indispensable to the way people live today. That work must go on. The real challenge we must all face is the need to facilitate more and better collection and recycling,” says Turner.
The environment committee vote is a slap in the face for the French government, which has put in place a controversial ban on disposable plastics tableware that is illegal under EU rules, according to Pack2Go Europe. A vote for national bans would have grandfathered the French ban into EU law.
For more information, visit www.pack2go-europe.com