EU packaging industry cries foul over LCA

Europen warns Commission not to base packaging directive review on "deeply flawed" studies

EU packaging industry association Europen has warned the Commission not to base proposals expected next year to revise the 1994 packaging directive on what it calls a "deeply flawed" life-cycle assessment (LCA). Delivered to the Commission in 1997 by consultants Recherche Développement & Consulting and Coopers and Lybrand, the LCA concluded that an EU-wide waste management hierarchy could be established. The packaging industry argues, on the contrary, that LCAs are "unlikely to produce a universal, regional or even national hierarchy" for packaging waste. Europen now says that its requests for an independent evaluation of the LCA have not been met. According to the association, a follow-up analysis of methodologies for packaging LCAs prepared by Germany's Öko-Institut "correctly concluded" that the first study was "seriously flawed," but "then went on to support [its] conclusions without any apparent scientific justification". Europen particularly objects to conclusions reached by Öko-Institut that the first study "demonstrates that the promotion of reusable packaging is justified," and that it "demonstrates that measures should be taken to address the problem of high-impact packaging - notably metal cans and PVC bottles". "We want to make absolutely sure that whatever is in the reports is not trotted out to support anything the Commission proposes" next year, Julian Carroll of Europen told ENDS Daily.

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