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European plastic trade bodies slam Italian plastic tax proposals.

“…this measure undermines the survival of a sector of excellence, penalising the products and not the behaviours and will, in fact, slow down all the efforts that were done in terms of circularity”. 

Three presidents from European plastic trade associations have decided to oppose the Italian Government’s tax proposal of €1000 per ton of plastic packaging.

Renato Zelcher (European Plastics Converters), Javier Constante (PlasticsEurope) and Ton Emans (Plastic Recyclers Europe), came to this decision during a meeting held in Düsseldorf, Germany, at the K trade show.

According to the presidents, the proposed ‘Plastics Packaging Tax’ is likely to have a negative impact on the local market, in terms of job losses and consumers being negatively affected by such a regressive tax.

Italy is the second biggest producer of plastics products after Germany and the tax would put in jeopardy the economic situation of 50,000 workers and the survival of 2,000 SMEs in the value chain, according to the Italian Federation of Workers (Filctem Cgil). This will have a domino effect on the whole economy. The National Federation of Consumers (Federconsumatori) estimates that such a tax would mean an increase of households spending of €140 per year.

Renato Zelcher, who is also the CEO of an Italian flexible packaging company, added that “this measure undermines the survival of a sector of excellence, penalising the products and not the behaviours and will, in fact, slow down all the efforts that were done in terms of circularity”.

The Italian Government hopes that a tax on single-use plastics will help to drive demand for recycled materials and discourage the use of single-use plastic with no recycled content. The UK Government also has plans for a tax on single-use plastics.

In a joint statement, the trade associations said: “Plastics materials and plastic products are key to avoid food waste, to reduce transport costs, to save energy and to decrease CO2 emissions. Alternative materials, very often, have a worse environmental impact as they are heavier and bulkier when compared to plastics”.

The trade associations added: “The goal of 10 million tons of recycled plastic to be placed on the EU market has been pledged under the patronage of the European Commission. It is a very ambitious but attainable target that will require many investments in the whole value chain of plastics and it is not with the plastic ban or taxes that this process can be accelerated.

“On the contrary, it will weigh heavily on our industry, putting thousands of jobs at risk at a time when we already face economic recess in Europe. Our industry is already active in doing its part and we restate our intention to work across value chains to reach the ambitious aim that by 2025, 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics will find their way into new products on the EU market.”


If you were interested in this bioeconomy story, you may also be interested in the ones below.

Read: UK to launch call for evidence on development of standards for bio-based and biodegradable plastics.

Read: Covestro is heading in the ‘right direction’ to establish circularity, CEO says.

Read:Bio-based industry gives lukewarm response to UKs first bio-economy strategy.

Read:European Commission urges industry to do more to boost recycled plastics market.

Read:Regaining control of the bio-economy communication agenda

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