Proposed Plastics Directive Part One

 

1 What NOW?

Just when we thought it was safe to come out from under the cloud of BREXIT, and its potential severing of our supply chains into the European Union, Brussels has just landed another blow to complicate manufacturers’ ability to ship products into the EU.

The Source Document is “Brussels, 16.1.2018 COM(2018) 28 final “– and can be accessed BY CLICKING HERE or downloaded from our website  library– we recommend visiting our website because there are many other free items to download.

  • This latest Proposed Plastics Directive or milestone (millstone or hurdle – your choice or words) goes by a number of names including:· Brussels, 16.1.2018 COM(2018) 28 final
  • · Brussels, 16.1.2018 – 28 final
  • · Single Use Plastics Strategy
  • · A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy\
  • · A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy {SWD(2018) 16 final}

None of the names used hint at WHAT this latest legislation is trying to achieve nor do they even suggest what we must do to comply with it!

(Note – the writer is English and has read every Directive and Regulation applicable to Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) since the 1973 Low Voltage Directive (LVD) – if he has difficulty making Top and Tail of EU Legislation, then what chance do those for whom EU-English is foreign or anathema?)

The purpose of this blog and its part two is to simplify the 18 page document and convert it into a useful and usable summary – armed with which the reader should be able to make top and tail of the EU Original Document.

2 What is the purpose of this legislation?

Henry Ford was the first to do it and he went further that the EU is attempting to go!
Do you remember the stories that Henry Ford used packing crates to make floors for the Model T?

(See stories here)  and here)    It appears that Ford sent details (and sample floorboards) to one of his suppliers and instructed them to incorporate his floor-boards into the design of the packing cases – the outcome was that by dismantling the crates the packaging could be reused (recycled) as floor boards. This saved hours or labor and a great many trees.

What the EU is attempting is broadly similar to Ford’s vision – to reuse and recycle plastic and the EU is trying to use the Japanese management principles and Pareto Analysis to implement their action.

2.1 The Problem

These are the most common items found on EU Beaches – 50% of the items wasted up on beaches are used only once. This is the reason they are called “Single Use” or “Single Use Items”. (Who would use a second-hand “Q-Tip”?

The EU seems also to have identified small plastic fragments less than 5 mm long. Some items are VERY small and less than 0.1 mm long – these come from plastic that is disintegrated by water and other mechanical action – notably the wash cycle of domestic washing machines that remove small fibers. This latter group is potentially more of a problem because these small fragments can get into our food-chain.

(Mussels and other filter feeders are exposed; and also small creatures, like plankton, that are then eaten by larger critters.) These sub-millimeter Micro-Particles cannot easily be removed from domestic waste water and we can only prevent more from entering our seas and oceans by preventing the plastic items (from which they originate) from leaving the land. The potential worst case scenario is that we have no idea if these Micro-Particles, which have been found in our water supply, salt and even in honey, will have any effect on our health – this is now the subject of much research.

In the next blog, we will make recommendations of how to prepare for this new EU challenge