EU commissioner urges green future for plastics

David Eldridge

Published: September 25, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Public Policy

WEISBADEN, GERMANY (Sept. 25, 12:45 p.m. ET) — Plastics have some important environmental advantages but the plastics industry can do more to reduce their overall impact, according to Janez Poto├äŹnik, European Commissioner for the Environment.

“I believe in the future of the European plastics industry. But the time has come to be more critical of our use of plastics,” Poto├äŹnik said on Sept. 21 at the PolyTalk event organized by PlasticsEurope in Wiesbaden.

The commissioner expressed his views to a gathering of business leaders from the European plastics industry, representatives of the green lobby and officials from European organizations.

“We need green economics and we need green economics in the plastics industry,” he said.

Poto├äŹnik acknowledged the benefits of plastics, such as their lightweighting advantage in areas such as automotive and packaging.

However, the moves towards innovation and sustainability have set the challenge of how to make the most of plastics’ benefits without increasing environmental impacts.

“Future competitiveness will depend on doing more with less,” he said.

One challenge is to improve plastics recycling in the European Union. While some countries have high recycling rates, others are sending too much plastic to landfill.

Poto├äŹnik suggested incineration of waste plastics for energy recovery could constrain the supply of raw material for plastics recycling.

“Too often plastics is downcycled, not recycled,” he said.

Poto├äŹnik also urged the plastics industry to help develop products which are designed for sustainability, products that can be repaired, updated and dismantled easily.

Major environmental issues for the plastics industry include marine litter and the proliferation of carrier bags. The European Commission is currently assessing options to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags.

Poto├äŹnik seemed to rule out the possibility of a ban on plastic carrier bags, telling the PolyTalk audience that “pricing measures plus targets are the most likely option.”


Comments

EU commissioner urges green future for plastics

David Eldridge

Published: September 25, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Plastics executive pleads guilty in federal firearm case

January 23, 2015 12:37 pm ET

Richard Cummings, 43, a former manager at Tri Town Precision Plastics Inc. in Deep River, Conn., has pleaded guilty to violating federal firearms...    More

Image

Mexico's Polymer Solutions looks to grow, expand offerings with name change

January 23, 2015 12:03 pm ET

British biodegradable additives developer Symphony Environmental Technologies plc's Mexico distributor has changed its name from Plßsticos...    More

Image

Recycling Partnership coalition kicks off its initial curbside project

January 22, 2015 3:51 pm ET

The Recycling Partnership's inaugural effort to boost curbside recycling around the country kicked off this week in Columbia, S.C.    More

Image

ACC's 'Roadmap' gaining traction

January 22, 2015 1:56 pm ET

Nearly a year into the launch of the latest effort to promote greater use of plastics in automotive applications, a trade group behind the push says...    More

China's growth hits 24-year low

January 21, 2015 10:17 am ET

The world's second largest economy reported its 2014 gross domestic product growth at 7.4 percent, the lowest since 1990. The plastics industry exhibi...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events