plastic packaging orgs
Four of the largest national plastics packaging organisations in Europe have made a united call for investment in European polymer production facilities and the “urgent restoration” of normal material supply levels.
The statement from Elipso (France), IK (Germany), BPF and PAFA (UK) comes as a result of the recent shortages following a number of Force Majeure declarations since the beginning of 2015, set against what they describe as a “significantly worsening” supply situation.
This includes allocated supplies for polyethylene and polypropylene, with increasingly common supply interruptions, as well as rapidly escalating ethylene prices driving up the price of several polymers. Finally, a lack of announcements of any return to normal supply conditions, or on future trends.
An urgent restoration of normal supply is imperative, say the four organisations, as the industry is in danger of losing credibility with its customers as it looks to avert any possibility that they look to alternative materials to satisfy their needs.
They collectively believe that unless there is security of supply for raw materials then there cannot be a “truly sustainable plastics packaging industry”, which has traditionally accounted for more than one third of Europe's polymer consumption.
It is understood that polymer producers are increasingly likely to invest in the faster growing markets of Asia and the Americas. Consequently, says the organisations, there is unlikely to be significant investment forthcoming to support the European marketplace.
They are concerned with ageing plant, which is more prone to breakdown and likely to suffer from the maintenance issues frequently cited as a cause of the Force Majeure declarations. Only new investment will correct this situation, they say.
In the statement, the organisations said that “Europe is 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. The development of this expertise in Europe, they say, can support the stronger evolution of plastics packaging markets and the acceptance of plastics packaging around the world. “For this, we need the polymer producers to invest in the production of their raw materials here in Europe,” they added.
The four organisations also paid tribute to plastics packaging converters who they sauy have been “skilfully managing” the situation of interrupted supply and higher prices in recent months. This has been a “high wire balancing act amid conditions not witnessed for many years,” they concluded.