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Single Use Plastics a Hot Topic at WOW

06.26.19

EU directives set to impact wet wipes, fem care products

The impact of the Single Use Plastics Directive, which was adopted by the European Parliament last year, on the wipes industry was an important topic at the World of Wipes (WOW). The directive seeks to significantly reduce the amount of single use plastics (SUP) going into European landfills by limiting the use of SUPs in certain categories and all out banning the use of certain SUPs like single use straws as the EU seeks to transition to a circular economy.

For the wet wipes —as well as filtered cigarettes and feminine hygiene items—the biggest impact will be felt in labeling requirements that need to inform consumers about the appropriate disposal of the product and about the negative impacts of SUPs and littering on the environment. Additionally, EU members will be required to develop awareness programs educating consumers on reusable alternatives to products containing SUPs.

Because this legislation is targeting Europe, EDANA has been working overtime on the issue but INDA and its North American member companies are anticipating these efforts impact on North America. While federal action is unlikely, already more than 20 states have introduced 100-plus bills concerning plastics. Probably the most ambitious is the California Circular Economy and Plastic Reduction Act, which seeks to signfiicantly reduce the use of SUPs in packaging and products by 2030. This would be achieved through source reduction, recycling and composting.

This week at WOW, INDA has hosted its first official Plastics Initiative Committe meeting seeking input and education on the topic. Already, the association has released a position statement on SUPs and is working to understand the issue, educate its members and come up with a way to react to thie issues.