The European plastics industry is in danger of “losing credibility” and an urgent restoration of “normal supply is imperative”, four organisations have grouped together to say.
National organisations representing the plastics packaging industry in Europe, Elipso (France), IK (Germany), British Plastics Federation (BPF) and PAFA (UK) have called on polymer producers to invest more in European polymer production facilities.
Called a “worsening supply situation” by the four organisations, they said currently there is:
Allocated supplies for polyethylene and polypropylene, with increasingly common supply interruptions.
Rapidly escalating ethylene prices driving up the price of several polymers.
Announcements of any return to normal supply conditions or on the trends ahead.
The four organisations said that unless there is a “security of supply for our raw materials then we do not have a truly sustainable plastics packaging industry, which has traditionally accounted for more than one third of Europe's polymer consumption”.
The situation has been described as “critical” in the UK, with ECO Plastics being sold off and London based, Closed Loop Recycling, on the brink of administration due to the plummeting oil price making virgin polymers cost competitive (read WMW story).
Europe’s situation could see polymer producers increasingly likely to invest in the faster growing markets of Asia and the Americas, resulting in a lack of investment in the marketplace.
Europe has been seen as a global leader and powerhouse of innovation not only in plastics packaging technology but also in waste management organisation and techniques, such as recycling and the incorporation of recyclate into plastics packaging products.
For this to continue, the four organisations said, we need the polymer producers to invest in the production of their raw materials here in Europe.
The four organisations also paid “tribute to plastics packaging converters who have been skilfully managing this situation of interrupted supply and higher prices in the last months. This has been a high wire balancing act amid conditions not witnessed for many years”.