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Topics: Plastic Bags
Organisations: Federchimica

Plastic Bags

Delegazione di FEDERCHIMICA presso l'Unione europea
















is the Italian Federation of the chemical industry. The association

counts 1400 companies employing a total of 90.000 employees. Federchimica represents both chemicals producers and downstream users, grouped into 17 Associations, articulated into 40 product groups. Federchimica is member of Confindustria and Cefic (European chemical industry council).

Federchimica would like to share with you some comments in view of ENVI Committee vote on Ms. Margrete Auken report next 10 March. The European Commission proposal for a review of Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste has been published in November 2013. The Commission requires Member States to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic bags with a

thickness below 50µ. The Commission’s proposal gives wide flexibility to the Member

tates on the tools to use in order to reduce the consumption and it does not place a binding objective of reduction.


Federchimica shares the concerns regarding the littering and marine litter problems and acknowledges that these challenges need to be addressed. Current discussions at EU level aim at reducing the littering problems through a reduction in the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags without any distinction among biodegradable-compostable bags and the traditional ones. Federchimica cannot agree with this approach and is in favour of an exemption for biodegradable compostable bags from the scope of the directive.

WHY? In some Member States, such as Italy, biodegradable and compostable bags complying with EN 13432 standard can be reused to collect organic waste and they are treated in composting facilities where they are entirely composted. In these countries, the use of this type of bags has led to an increase in organic waste quality and in the amount collected. Biodegradable and compostable plastics bags make it possible for local authorities to implement modern collecting and recycling systems of organic waste and an efficient recovery of resources.

This result wouldn’t be possible

if traditional plastic bags or oxo-degradable bags were to be used. Moreover, if biodegradable-compostable bags happen to be improperly disposed of in the environment, they will biodegrade faster than traditional plastic.


Federchimica is registered in the EU Transparency Register, number


Delegazione di FEDERCHIMICA presso l'Unione europea


In order to reduce

“littering”, It

aly has banned since the 1


January 2011 traditional

ingle use plastic bags, achieving a drastic reduction in their consumption.

Member states Flexibility

Federchimica shares the EC approach leaving flexibility to Member States on the provisions to reduce plastic carrier bags consumption.

For this reason Federchimica agrees with amendments 4, 26, 68, 112, 116, 120, 128, 147; but does not support 65, 86, 118, 119, 124. Exemption for biodegradable and compostable plastic bags

Federchimica supports the introduction of an exemption for biodegradable and compostable plastic bags complying with the EU standard EN 13432. As shown by recent studies, compostable carrier bags complying with EU standard EN 13432 do not compromise the quality of the compost and are biodegradable in the marine environment in a period between 16 and 24 weeks


For this reason Federchimica agrees with amendments 40, 47, 60, 67, 77, 78, 81, 83, 105, 130, 131, 129, but does not support 100, 101, 102, 84, 115, 145. Definition of lightweight plastic carrier bags Federchimica considers that the threshold (50µ) proposed by the Commission to define lightweight plastic bags and to distinguish them from reusable plastic bags is not suitable. Reusable plastic carrier bags are generally thicker than 50µ and such threshold would jeopardise the results already achieved by some Member states, e.g. Italy. For this reason Federchimica agrees with amendments 94, 15, 16, 97, 138, but does not support with 88, 90, 91, 92, 95. Limitations on chemicals used in plastic packaging Federchimica does not agree with the Rapporteur proposal to introduce limitations on chemicals used in plastic packaging.

Federchimica believes that the Rapporteur’s

proposal goes beyond the scope of the European Commission’s proposal, whose

aim is the reduction of lightweight plastic bags. For this reason, Federchimica does not support amendments 12, 20, 21, 22, 85, 135.


T.O’Brine, R. C. Thompson (2010) Degradation of

plastic carrier bags in the marine environment.

Marine Pollution Bulletin 60:2279


M .Tosin, M. Weber, M. Siotto, C. Lott, F. Degli-Innocenti

(2012) Laboratory test methods to determine the degradation of plastics in marine environmental conditions. Frontiers in Microbiology 3:225.

Delegazione di FEDERCHIMICA presso l'Unione europea


Normativa CEN (standard EN13432)

The European Standard EN13432 "Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation - Testing scheme and evaluation criteria for the final acceptance of packaging", defines the characteristics that a material must have, in order to be defined as "compostable" through organic recycling. This norm is a reference point for material manufacturers, public authorities, recyclers and consumers. The European Standard EN13432 is a harmonised norm, that is, it has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union, and has consequently been adopted by every European country. The norm provides an assumption that packaging and waste from packaging conform to the European Directive 94/62 EC. Standard EN13432 has successfully supported the development of innovative packaging materials providing industrial customers and citizens with bio-based materials that can be efficiently reintroduced in ecological and economic cycles.

Demands to “update” or “review” the Standard EN13432 are based on the misled assumption that “biodegradability” and “compostability” can be separated both

conceptually and technically. In facts, these criteria cannot be taken in isolation. A biodegradable material is not necessarily compostable. On the other hand, a material which breaks down into microscopic pieces which are not fully biodegradable during the composting process, is also not compostable.

Federchimica supports amendment 18 and it does not support amendments 9, 10, 30, 102.

Brussels, 25th February 2014

Document Info

  • Language: en
  • Author: Andrea Bonetti
  • Created: February 25, 2014 10:11 AM
  • Last Modified: February 25, 2014 10:11 AM
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