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Final text of Single Use Plastic Negotiations shows power of industry lobby - Lynn Boylan MEP

19 December, 2018 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Following a lengthy 12 hour meeting, the  European Parliament and the European Council have produced an agreed document on tackling Single Use Plastics.

Speaking today, Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan said:

“It is clear from the diluted final text that the lobbyists were very successful in getting their message across to the various Member States. While disappointing that the final text lacks the ambition voted for in the European Parliament, it still provides a framework to deliver much needed change. 

"Key victories for the European Parliament include a new ban on oxobiodegradable plastics, which contain additives that promote fragmentation, essentially turning them into microplastics. Establishing a ban on these most polluting of plastics is a real achievement.

“The European Parliament has also introduced, “Recycled Content requirements for Plastic Bottles” which will oblige plastic bottle manufacturers to use 30% recycled plastic by 2030, which is a very welcome, small, yet significant step in the right direction.

"The European Parliaments’s ability to deliver such positive outcomes is negated however by the Council's lack of ambition in other areas, such as delaying the mandatory establishment of deposit refund schemes by four years, an initiative which has been proven to successfully reduce plastic pollution.

“The once ambitious plan to establish a 90% separate waste collection by 2025 has been prolonged to 2029, and the need to include labelling requirements on sales packaging for balloons, one of the top 10 found plastic items on beaches, has been removed from the Directive.

“The deletion of labelling requirements for balloons cannot be solely blamed on the Council though. The plastic lobbyists were very active in securing the support of the Parliament’s largest political group, EPP and their Fine Gael members on the exclusion of balloons from labelling requirements.

“Even more alarming is that my original amendment to introduce an obligation on producer's to label hazardous chemicals in single use plastic products has also been removed, due to the Council deeming it too burdensome for producers to comply with.

 "The EU Parliament has had to make huge sacrifices and accept major set-backs on the original targets set.

"When negotiating the targets for consumption reduction or collection or recycling rates of fishing gear, the Council insisted there would be no numerical targets. This is evidence of the Council’s ability to wield its force and bring the EU Parliament’s ambition to its knees.

“Given the position taken by Fine Gael MEPs during the votes within the Parliament, you would have to question how negative a role Ireland and the Fine Gael Government played at Council level behind closed doors.

“Those of us serious about ending plastic pollution and not just seeking headlines will continue to push for Ireland and other countries to be ambitious as is possible within the framework."

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