Oxo-degradable plastics ban  27-03-2023 - Arhive

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Oxo-degradable plastics ban

-Symphony brings £82m claim over EU oxo-degradable plastics ban 

A legal challenge brought by Symphony Environmental Technologies over the ban of oxo-degradable plastics under the Single-use Plastics Directive has been heard at the General Court of the EU in Luxembourg.

Article 5 of the Directive, enacted in 2019, directs member states to prohibit products made from oxo-degradable plastic.

Lawyers representing Symphony, which manufactures an oxo-biodegradable plastic product called d2w, said Article 5 was error-ridden and “unlawfully breaches the principle of proportionality”.

Symphony said a claim for compensation could reach £82m from loss of profits, reputational damage and loss of company value. Oxo-degradable plastics ban

The case was heard on 20 March, with Symphony represented by Josh Holmes KC and Jack Williams from EU law specialist Monckton Chambers.

Holmes told the court the ban had gone ahead “without sufficient scientific evaluation of the supposed risks” and said there had been a “serious breach of Union law”. Symphony argued its d2w product reduced plastic pollution by degrading rapidly and leaving no microplastics or harmful residues. Oxo-degradable plastics ban

Chief executive Michael Laurier said: “The EU ought to be encouraging plastic which will biodegrade in the open environment. I have never been able to understand how it was possible to impose a ban without any dossier from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) showing any justification for a ban.

“The European Commission had asked ECHA to study the technology under Art 69 of REACH, and ECHA received hundreds of pages of scientific evidence, but was instructed to terminate the study.

“The EU then proceeded to legislate and ignored all the safeguards against arbitrary legislation provided by Articles 69-73 of REACH and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

“In October 2018, Symphony was informed by the leader of the scientific team at ECHA after 10 months of study that they had not been convinced that microplastics were formed.” Oxo-degradable plastics ban

It is estimated that the court’s ruling will take 12 to 15 months to be issued.

In 2020, eight industry and campaign bodies called on the then environment secretary George Eustice to ban oxo-degradable and similar plastics over fears they produce microplastic pollution.

The signatories, including the Environmental Services Association and Recoup, said this covered materials “variously known as ‘oxo-degradable’, ‘oxo-biodegradable, ‘oxo-fragmentable’ and ‘bio-assimilable’, among others”.


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