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Plan your practical response to new regulations in plastics manufacturing

May 31, 2022

Are you ready for new legislation in plastics manufacturing? EWI can help.

By James Cruz

Articles about the negative impact of polymers on the environment are becoming more and more prevalent. Everything from tracking plastic concentrations in our oceans to the effects of plastic on our soil. This has led to a correlated shift in public sentiment towards single-use plastics literally coming out of vogue.

As public perception and opinion of plastics evolves, the call for legislation to protect the environment from plastic pollution evolves with it. Many countries are enacting curbs or all-out bans on single-use plastics. The United Nations also amended the Basel Convention to include language on handling plastic waste. Approximately 180 countries signed that legally binding amendment in 2019 – with the United States being one noticeably absent participant. In Europe, the United Kingdom is set to enact two legislative taxes – the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) which tax manufacturers of products for their behaviors around plastic packaging and product content. These taxes have very direct and real impact to those manufacturers’ bottom lines which, naturally, will be passed on to consumers.

In the US, there has been a smattering of bills around the country aimed mostly at eliminating plastic shopping bags and water bottles. This is in spite of the fact that the US ranks second in gross usage of plastics in the world (and first when considering per capita usage). There is also legislation currently under consideration to ban certain plastics for use in federal parks.

On the other hand, many folks think that plastics are here to stay and are calling for better methods to recycle and an increased focus on considering the full lifecycle of plastic components from the design phase of the products.

Depending on the price of crude oil, it can be cheaper to make new plastic than recycle, so detractors reason that legislation prohibiting or taxing the use of plastics is the only way to save the environment from its harmful impacts.

While it’s difficult to see exactly where this debate will land, EWI is committed to working with our customers to find the best technical solutions for their plastic manufacturing needs. That includes everything from investigating weldability of new, environmentally friendly, recycled plastic grades to reviewing designs to help reduce the volume of plastic in components to supporting efforts to transition packaging away from plastic to paper-based products.

Please let us know how we can help you meet your needs. Click here or call 614.688.5152.

James Cruz, EWI Business Development Director, can reached at [email protected].