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EU plastics law will put thousands out of work

Posted by EUbusiness at 14 December 2018, 12:55 CET |

The business of serving food and drinks in the EU is worth about €450 billion today, about 5% of EU GDP, and growing 5% annually.

Tens of thousands of net new jobs are created year-on-year for young people entering the world of work or those who, for a variety of reasons, might not easily find a job elsewhere. Employment is static at best in the rest of the agro-food sector.

The growing on-the-go food and drinks industry sustains a significant part of the whole food chain – farmers, food companies, restaurants, retailers, vending companies and internet delivery services. Recyclable purpose-designed cups, food containers and other items provide the "infrastructure" to serve millions safely and hygienically every day – but not for long.

Bans and consumer taxes to prevent operators using safe recyclable paper and plastics cups and containers – the heart of the EU proposals on single use plastics – will inevitably put a drag on consumer spending on ready-to-eat food and drinks, halting growth in the sector and squeezing out thousands of jobs needlessly. The young people losing their positions may well ask industry and employment ministers why alternative approaches to cutting litter were not tried first. Better still, ask them now!

The EU should set mandatory collection targets for these recyclable foodservice containers – as currently proposed for plastic drinks bottles – thereby supporting the circular economy and creating jobs. Furthermore, we must change the behaviour that produces litter by making producers fund permanent litter prevention campaigns, as already required by the revised EU Waste Directive. Government can still act before it is too late.

Mike Turner
Managing Director, Graphic Packaging International Foodservice Europe
President and Chairman of the Board, Pack2Go Europe

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