EU council, parliament reach provisional PPWR deal

  • : Petrochemicals
  • 24/03/05

Negotiators for EU's council of ministers and the European parliament have reached provisional agreement on revised packaging and packaging waste regulation (PPWR) which maintains recycling and recycled content targets, with some exemptions.

The provisional agreement requires formal approval by EU states and parliament before EU elections in June.

Council officials have yet to release a full text but say the agreement maintains "most" of the sustainability requirements for packaging and headline targets proposed by the European Commission. In November 2022, the commission proposed EU countries require, by 31 December 2025, a minimum of 65pc recycling by weight of all packaging waste generated, and minimums for plastic (50pc), wood (25pc), ferrous metals and glass (70pc), aluminium (50pc), and paper and cardboard (75pc).

It also said that headline minimum recycled content targets had been maintained. These are split by packaging category (see table). The commission will have to review the implementation of the 2030 targets and assess the feasibility of the 2040 targets.

Before the negotiations on 4 March, the commission and recycling industry representatives had raised concerns about "unintentional" trade impacts stemming from the definition of post-consumer plastic waste linked to recycled content targets, which was amended to include imported material in a recent leaked draft of the EU's implementing decision for the Single Use Plastics directive (SUPD).

A European recycling association told Argus that the council and parliament are understood to have agreed requirements on recycled plastic imports to meet EU-equivalent environmental and quality standards, such as separate collection, which it said "goes in the right direction as it is highly needed to protect the European recycling industry from massive and fraudulent imports".

But it said that this definition for post-consumer recyclates does not yet appear to be agreed by the European commission. And it called for a "robust traceability system, verified by independent third-party… to ensure that plastics labelled as recycled are actually recycled under equivalent conditions to those set in the EU".

Non-governmental organisation Zero Waste Europe (ZWE)'s Chemical Recycling and Plastic-to-Fuels Policy Officer Lauriane Veillard pointed positively to recognition of a difference between recycling technologies. "However, the absence of the commission's support for the final text due to the issue of imported recycled plastic is worrying as it is of utmost importance that recycled materials are of the same quality and meet the same requirements wherever they are produced," said Veillard.

Officials note the deal exempts compostable plastic packaging and packaging with a plastic component under 5pc of total weight from targets.

Parliament said members had negotiated a ban on very lightweight plastic carrier bags, below 15 microns, unless required for hygiene reasons or provided as primary packaging to avoid food wastage.

The text, though, follows EU states, when setting a 50pc, rather than parliament's 40pc, threshold on the ratio of empty space in "grouped, transport and e-commerce packaging" for products supplied to final distributors or end-users. And cardboard packaging is generally exempted from binding re-use targets for 2030 and from indicative targets for 2040. Targets vary depending on packaging type and use.

Member states are normally obliged, by 2029, to ensure separate collection of at least 90pc/yr of single-use plastic bottles and metal beverage containers via deposit return systems (DRS).

The parliament and EU states agreed a restriction on food contact packaging containing per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs), albeit above certain thresholds. ZWE welcomed the phasing out of PFAs in food packaging but expressed "deep concern" over exemptions for paper-based and composite packaging as well as the deal deleting reuse targets for the takeaway sector.

EU proposed sustainability measures
20302040
Recycling content requirements
Single-use plastic beverage bottles30%65%
PET contact-sensitive packaging30%50%
Non-PET contact-sensitive packaging10%50%
Other packaging35%65%

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24/05/23

US ethane supply gains seen trailing demand growth

US ethane supply gains seen trailing demand growth

Houston, 23 May (Argus) — Export and domestic demand growth for US ethane is expected to outpace US supply growth by as much as 72,000 b/d by 2026, according to a recent forecast from consultancy East Daley Analytics. A surplus of US ethane production, bolstered by gains in natural gas drilling and production to meet growing demand for electricity generation and LNG exports, has led to increasing investments in additional ethane export terminal capacity to provide other outlets for the petrochemical feedstock. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed US ethane production from natural gas processing rose to a record 2.78mn b/d in October of 2023 and fell to 2.69mn b/d in February, the latest data the agency has available. Those volumes don't take into account ethane that is rejected into the gas stream at processing plants during periods of restrained capacity or when natural gas prices spike on weather-related outages, incentivizing lower ethane recovery. Mont Belvieu, Texas, EPC ethane's premium relative to its natural gas fuel value at Waha reached a peak of 50.31¢/USG on 6 May, a 16-month high, and has averaged 26.08¢/USG in May so far, according to Argus data. As ethane margins versus natural gas rise, ethane extraction at natural gas processing plants becomes even more profitable, pushing ethane recovery rates higher. Yet East Daley's forecasts suggest projects to absorb this additional feedstock may quickly outpace production. The consultancy projects US ethane production will rise by 283,000 b/d by 2026, driven mostly by gains in natural gas production in the Permian and Marcellus basins. Increased gas takeaway capacity from the completion of maintenance on Kinder Morgan's Permian Highway pipeline (PHP), the Gulf Coast Express (GCX) pipeline, and the Transwestern pipeline at the end of this month, will allow for higher levels of ethane rejection, according to Rob Wilson, East Daley's vice president of analytics, limiting potential gains in ethane production from the additional gas. Further gas capacity restrictions in the Permian are expected to be mitigated when the 2.5 Bcf/d Matterhorn Express pipeline — which runs from the Waha, Texas, gas hub to Katy, Texas, on the Gulf coast — comes online in the third quarter of this year. Domestic demand for ethane is projected to rise by 129,000 b/d by 2026 with the addition of Chevron Phillips Chemical's joint venture with QatarEnergy to construct a 2mn t/yr ethane cracker on the Texas Gulf coast that is scheduled to come online in 2026. That joint venture will consume 118,000 b/d of ethane when at full capacity, but will operate at 50pc of capacity when first on line in 2026, according to East Daley. Increased US ethane cracking will come on top of a 231,000 b/d increase in ethane exports by 2026, driven by demand from Chinese crackers and burgeoning demand from Indian crackers, according to the consultancy. Ethane export expansions at Energy Transfer's Marcus Hook terminal in Pennsylvania and Enterprise Products Partners' new flexible LPG and ethane terminal at Beaumont, Texas, are expected to be complete by 2025 and 2026, respectively. Combined, these projects add another 360,000 b/d of ethane demand by 2026, outstripping expected supply growth by an estimated 72,000 b/d, according to East Daley's forecast. By Abby Downing-Beaver Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Minnesota passes producer responsibility law


24/05/22
24/05/22

Minnesota passes producer responsibility law

Houston, 22 May (Argus) — Minnesota became the fifth state to pass an extended producer responsibility (EPR) law for packaging in the US after Governor Tim Walz (D) signed the bill into law on Tuesday. The law requires producers of consumer goods to take responsibility for end-of-life packaging, and provide funding for recycling programs and expansions. However, it does not assign full responsibility to producers, instead requiring them to pay half of recycling costs by January 2029, which will then scale up to 90pc by 2031. Minnesota joins Oregon, Maine, California, and Colorado in adopting an EPR law. The Minnesota law establishes a single producer responsibility organization to administer producer fees and collect recycling data. Some industry associations, including the American Institute for Packaging and the Environment and the Consumer Brands Association (CBA), supported the bill. "The EPR framework established in this bill, which finances recycling through shared responsibility, will strengthen Minnesota's recycling infrastructure and increase recycling access for consumers," CBA said. However, The American Forest & Paper Association (AFPA) urged Governor Walz to veto the bill, saying it would "ultimately punish responsible producers" and inhibit the paper industry's investments. AFPA had criticized Colorado's EPR bill before it became law. The state's EPR bill was passed as part of a larger supplemental budget law for Minnesota natural resources, and includes provisions for other environmental concerns such as water quality. By Zach Kluver Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Braskem restarts Triunfo petrochemical hub


24/05/21
24/05/21

Braskem restarts Triunfo petrochemical hub

Sao Paulo, 21 May (Argus) — Brazilian petrochemical giant Braskem started the gradual resumption of operations at its plants in the Triunfo hub, Rio Grande do Sul state. Braskem said it expects to complete the process in about 15 days, provided that climatic and logistical conditions remain stable. On 7 May Braskem shut down all of its operations in Rio Grande do Sul state after extreme flooding since late April, but said its polymer inventories were safe and protected from the damage caused by heavy rainfall at its operations in southern Brazil during the past two weeks. At the time, Braskem said there was no permanent damage to the industrial facilities, but critical water intake and effluent treatment systems were submerged, rendering them inoperable. Additionally, the Santa Clara River terminal, which was preemptively closed by the local port authority, has also been flooded. Braskem said the decision to resume operations takes into account the safety of people, processes, and logistics, and stated that it will keep the market informed about relevant developments, including their impacts. Since the Triunfo shutdown, Braskem was working with an operational capacity of 50pc. But the company was heard increasing its operating rates in other Brazilian plants to serve customers in the southern region. Braskem last week ruled out bringing material from Mexico. The extreme weather in southern Brazil caused a humanitarian crisis in Rio Grande do Sul and left 161 people dead, 85 missing and over 581,000 people displaced, according to the state's civil defense. Braskem owns and operates six industrial units at the Triunfo hub, with a combined production capacity of over 5mn tonnes (t)/yr of chemicals and thermoplastic resins such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), including a 260,000 t/yr bio-based PE plant. By Frederico Fernandes Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Italian plastic packaging tax delayed to 2026


24/05/16
24/05/16

Italian plastic packaging tax delayed to 2026

London, 16 May (Argus) — The Italian Senate has voted to postpone the introduction of a plastic packaging tax for another two years until 1 July 2026. Parliament originally approved legislation to impose a tax on single-use plastic packaging in the 2020 financial year. But it has been a contentious and complex political issue that has received push back from the industry, resulting in its introduction being postponed seven times. The proposed tax is expected to follow a similar model to Spain's existing plastic tax, with the tax rate in Italy's legislation fixed at €0.45/kg of virgin plastic. The tax is designed to cover plastic products such as bottles, bags, food containers, bubble wrap, caps and other single-use plastic items. Recycled plastics and compostable plastics will be exempt. By Chloe Kinner Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Low-carbon methanol costly EU bunker option


24/05/16
24/05/16

Low-carbon methanol costly EU bunker option

New York, 16 May (Argus) — Ship owners are ordering new vessels equipped with methanol-burning capabilities, largely in response to tightening carbon emissions regulations in Europe. But despite the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings that low-carbon methanol provides, it cannot currently compete on price with grey methanol or conventional marine fuels. Ship owners operate 33 methanol-fueled vessels today and have another 29 on order through the end of the year, according to vessel classification society DNV. All 62 vessels are oil and chemical tankers. DNV expects a total of 281 methanol-fueled vessels by 2028, of which 165 will be container ships, 19 bulk carrier and 14 car carrier vessels. Argus Consulting expects an even bigger build-out, with more than 300 methanol-fueled vessels by 2028. A methanol configured dual-fuel vessel has the option to burn conventional marine fuel or any type of methanol: grey or low-carbon. Grey methanol is made from natural gas or coal. Low-carbon methanol includes biomethanol, made of sustainable biomass, and e-methanol, produced by combining green hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide. The fuel-switching capabilities of the dual-fuel vessels provide ship owners with a natural price hedge. When methanol prices are lower than conventional bunkers the ship owner can burn methanol, and vice versa. Methanol, with its zero-sulphur emissions, is advantageous in emission control areas (ECAs), such as the US and Canadian territorial waters. In ECAs, the marine fuel sulphur content is capped at 0.1pc, and ship owners can burn methanol instead of 0.1pc sulphur maximum marine gasoil (MGO). In the US Gulf coast, the grey methanol discount to MGO was $23/t MGO-equivalent average in the first half of May. The grey methanol discount averaged $162/t MGOe for all of 2023. Starting this year, ship owners travelling within, in and out of European territorial waters are required to pay for 40pc of their CO2 emissions through the EU emissions trading system. Next year, ship owners will be required to pay for 70pc of their CO2 emissions. Separately, ship owners will have to reduce their vessels' lifecycle GHG intensities, starting in 2025 with a 2pc reduction and gradually increasing to 80pc by 2050, from a 2020 baseline. The penalty for exceeding the GHG emission intensity is set by the EU at €2,400/t ($2,596/t) of very low-sulplhur fuel oil equivalent. Even though these regulations apply to EU territorial waters, they affect ship owners travelling between the US and Europe. Despite the lack of sulphur emissions, grey methanol generates CO2. With CO2 marine fuel shipping regulations tightening, ship owners have turned their sights to low-carbon methanol. But US Gulf coast low-carbon methanol was priced at $2,317/t MGOe in the first half of May, nearly triple the outright price of MGO at $785/t. Factoring in the cost of 70pc of CO2 emissions and the GHG intensity penalty, the US Gulf coast MGO would rise to about $857/t. At this MGO level, the US Gulf coast low-carbon methanol would be 2.7 times the price of MGO. By comparison, grey methanol with added CO2 emissions cost would be around $962/t, or 1.1 times the price of MGO. To mitigate the high low-carbon methanol costs, some ship owners have been eyeing long-term agreements with suppliers to lock in product availabilities and cheaper prices available on the spot market. Danish container ship owner Maersk has lead the way, entering in low-carbon methanol production agreements in the US with Proman, Orsted, Carbon Sink, and SunGaas Renewables. These are slated to come on line in 2025-27. Global upcoming low-carbon methanol projects are expected to produce 16mn t by 2027, according to industry trade association the Methanol Institute, up from two years ago when the institute was tracking projects with total capacity of 8mn t by 2027. By Stefka Wechsler Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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