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BDE: Changes to planned EU regulation on plastic pellets go too far

Recyclers could face more bureaucracy and additional costs as a result of amendments made by the Environment Committee (ENVI) to the EU Commission's draft regulation.

With the planned regulation, Brussels wants to reduce losses of plastic pellets, which it sees as a major source of the unintentional release of microplastics into the environment, by up to 74 per cent. According to the Commission's proposal, economic operators that handle more than 5 tonnes of pellets per year, which according to the German Association of the Waste Management, Water and Recycling Industry (BDE) corresponds to more or less every recycling plant in Europe, should, among other things, draw up a mandatory risk assessment plan and take appropriate precautions to prevent plastic pellet losses.
In ENVI's draft report, rapporteur João Albuquerque proposes, according to a press release from the Environment Committee, to better define pellet losses, add the goal of "zero pellet losses" to the regulation instead of simply avoiding losses, introduce a labelling requirement for all storage and transport containers that contain plastic pellets and improve the scope and obligations for micro and small companies. BDE Managing Director Andreas Bruckschen criticised in a statement from the association: "The environmental management carried out by companies leads to risk awareness and concrete measures to prevent pellet losses. The blanket mandatory measures envisaged by the Environment Committee will not only disproportionately increase the bureaucratic burden on small and medium-sized plastic recycling companies, but will also lead to additional financial burdens because it is not uncommon for constructural changes to have to be made." Due to the strong competition from cheap primary plastics and the low demand for recyclates, the economic situation for companies was already very challenging. Ineffective additional and cost-intensive obligations would further worsen the economic situation of recycling companies, the BDE warns.
The BDE assumes that the European Parliament (EP) will vote on the dossier in the last plenary week of this legislature, on 23 April 2024. The result of this vote will represent the EP's position at first reading. The association hopes that the plenary will then support the European Commission's approach, which the BDE considers to be practicable.
Further information: Commission's proposal for a regulation, ENVI's proposed amendments on the European Parliament's website

  • ENVI press release (22.3.2024)
  • BDE press release (25.3.2024)
  • Photo:, Sören Funke

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