The European chemical industry has voiced concern over the proposed amendments to the EU Directive on packaging and packaging waste. The additions to the legislation introduced by the European Parliament's Environment Committee go beyond what was initially planned, potentially putting processors and packaging companies under significant pressure to comply, according to industry leaders.

Originally, the directive was expected to include an amendment on reduction of the use of lightweight plastic bags, but members of the European Parliament decided to vote on extra amendments that would require the phase-out of all substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction or endocrine disrupting from all packaging materials. The maximum allowed level of such substances in packaging will be 0.01 percent, the amendments state. If these are approved, it is feared taht the industry will face huge costs in phasing-out processes, replacing equipment and dealing with the extra administrative burden.

Trade association PlasticsEurope believes that chemicals used in packaging are already regulated under Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), as well as the EU food contact law. Each of these regulations ensures that European packaging is safe, the organization said.

Voting on the amendments is expected to take place in the European Parliament on April 17. A broader revision of the Directive on packaging and packaging waste is due later this year, after the new Parliament's first plenary meetings in the summer, Chemical Watch reported.