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European Parliament's draft report on fertilising products / Potential to create distortions in mulch films market

European Parliament's draft report on fertilising products / Potential to create distortions in mulch films marketProposed EU legislation on fertilisers could negatively impact the recycling of agri-plastics, such as films used to grow asparagus (Photo: PIE)The recycled agricultural plastics market in Europe has been developing steadily over the past years, and Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE, Brussels / Belgium; www.plasticsrecyclers.eu) puts the current collection rate at around 60%. However, these positive developments could be disrupted if the European Parliament?s draft report on regulating the CE marking of fertilising products is implemented.

There are several good examples in collection and recycling of agricultural films across Europe. According to the Irish Farm Film Producers Group (IFFPG, Dublin / Ireland; www.farmplastics.ie), 74% of plastics are recycled in Ireland, thanks to a well-functioning collection scheme and value chain collaboration. Data from waste management specialist RIGK (Wiesbaden / Germany; www.rigk.de) show in 2016, the volume of collected agricultural films was over 5,412 t in Germany, which has over 280 collection points (see Plasteurope.com of 13.06.2017). In Spain, agricultural plastics collection is already required by legislation in Andalusia.

According to the European Parliament's proposal on fertilisers regulation, conventional mulch films that are not degradable within 5 years should not be CE marked. PRE notes the report does not reflect any scientific studies and was drafted without assessment of economic or environmental impacts. If implemented, PRE says this will have negative implications for converting and recycling agricultural plastics as well as lead to a serious market restriction for conventional and recyclable mulch films.

Ton Emans, PRE president, says the agricultural plastics waste stream contains predominantly LDPE and LLDPE mono-material that results in high-quality recyclate. "Plastics waste is a hot topic for which the Commission is developing a strategy. Agriculture film is one of the only plastics waste flows which is recycled without any legislation in place. It is certain that more should be done, however, this draft proposal will result in a halt of these positive developments and lower the overall plastics recycling rate which is already dramatically low," he adds.

Managing director of the European Plastics Converters Association (EuPC, Brussels / Belgium; www.eupc.org) Alexandre Dangis emphasises the market of agricultural LDPE films in the EU is over 86,000 t and the shift to newly imposed material "will create market distortions as today only a handful of producers are able to provide the needed supply." Dangis says the PE mulch film collection and recycling is essential in Europe since it contributes to a circular economy in the agricultural sector. "Any initiative to enhance more collection and sorting of these mulching films needs to be stimulated and welcomed as a responsible behaviour of EU farmers."10.10.2017 Plasteurope.com [238095-0]

» Publication Date: 10/10/2017

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