EU Commissioner’s comments “dangerous” says IK

The German Plastics Packaging Association (IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen) has condemned comments made by the new EU Commissioner for Environment in Germany’s national newspaper Die Welt, calling them “dangerous” and “counterproductive”.

29-year-old Virginijus Sinkevicius, who took on the role within the EU in August 2019, had discussed the potential for a general ban on plastics packaging in Europe, to build on various disposable plastic bans imposed last year. Keen to make an instant impact in his new job, Sinkevicius thinks it’s appropriate to impose further bans in order to maintain a ‘blue’ world.

However, IK wants the EU Commissioner to do more to ensure that plastics packaging in Europe does not end up in landfills but is recycled.

The IK considers his statements to be dangerous because they question the future of plastics packaging in a circular economy.

“The Commissioner should ask himself how his statement will be received by those who are about to decide on investments in recyclable packaging or recycling plants. If politicians exclude plastics packaging from the circular economy, these urgently needed investments will certainly not be made,” commented IK’s managing director Dr Martin Engelmann.

While a strict landfill ban has been in force in Germany since 2005, household waste may still be landfilled to a large extent throughout the EU until 2030.

Moreover, the IK criticises the effect of such prohibitions on consumers.

“Some politicians are currently suggesting to consumers and voters that blanket bans can be used to overcome the major challenges in environmental and climate protection. Unfortunately, they forget to mention the contribution plastics packaging makes, for example, to carbon savings and food safety,” added Engelmann.

The IK added that it and the companies it represents expect the new EU Commission to make decisions based on facts and not on trends of the zeitgeist.