Latest phase of UN plastic treaty negotiations closes

  • : Petrochemicals
  • 24/04/30

The fourth session of the UN's Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international, legally binding instrument to tackle plastic pollution ended on 29 April. But from the updated drafts released at the end of the negotiating session in Ottawa, Canada, it remains unclear what shape the final text will take.

The treaty under discussion covers areas including waste management, product design, measurement and reporting of progress, and financing. There are plans for further inter-sessional negotiations on an updated draft text ahead of the fifth session in Busan, South Korea in November.

"Much work remains to be done to narrow the gaps in understanding, as well as bridge the divides on the scope and objective of the future treaty," the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) said. "This was evident as meetings to discuss the technical elements of the text diverged on almost all points of discussion, from problematic and avoidable plastics to product design, composition and performance."

European plastic industry association PlasticsEurope acknowledged progress during the discussions but said that "the clock is now ticking loudly" and called on "all stakeholders" to redouble their efforts to reach an agreement. It also called for observers to be present at inter-sessional negotiations "to maintain the transparency and technical integrity of the draft agreement".

There is "growing recognition" of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes — where producers and sellers of plastic products contribute to the cost of managing the resulting waste — as a tool for managing end-of-life plastics, PlasticsEurope added.

But the association expressed concern at a lack of progress towards supporting the circular economy by creating more demand for plastic waste and secondary raw materials. "The focus must now shift to policy measures that will increase the value of plastic waste as a circular feedstock by increasing demand for circular plastic raw materials, including the introduction of mandatory recycled content targets for sectors that use plastics at the national level," it said.

Mandatory recycled content requirements are one of the topics under discussion, although the updated draft released on 29 April appears less firm on this topic than the draft released following the negotiating committee's third session. The option for unilateral recycled content targets does not appear in the updated draft, and options to encourage national plans for recycled content requirements now include references for consideration to the targets applying "where economically viable" and "where affordable, accessible and available". These were not in the previous draft.

"We came to Ottawa to advance the text and with the hope that members would agree on the inter-sessional work required to make even greater progress... We leave Ottawa having achieved both goals and a clear path to landing an ambitious deal in Busan ahead of us," said Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme.


Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

Soaring freight costs hit LatAm polymers trade


24/06/18
24/06/18

Soaring freight costs hit LatAm polymers trade

Sao Paulo, 18 June (Argus) — Latin American plastic product manufacturers have been facing a significant surge in freight costs from Asia to the Americas since early April, with prices exceeding $10,000 per 40-foot container (FEU) heading into June, compared with approximately $1,170/FEU at the end of March. This high value was reported to Argus by polymer traders in the Manaus Free Trade Zone last week. It is the highest rate reported by market participants in the region. But data collected by Argus shows that average freight rates from Asia to the east coast of South America were between $6,800-$8,000/FEU on 31 May. In the two following weeks, prices hit $8,000-8,500/FEU. The phenomenon is connected to a logistics readjustment following disruptions on major global shipping routes since last year. But the current situation also has a unique cause: electric vehicles imports from China to Latin America. Chinese electric car manufacturers have been taking advantage of available space on vessels traveling the Asia-South America route before an increase in import tariffs on these vehicles. In Brazil, import duties are set to rise in July for all types of electrified vehicles, from 10pc to 18pc for fully electrified cars, from 12pc to 20pc for hybrid cars, and up to 25pc for non-rechargeable hybrid vehicles. This window of opportunity exploited by Chinese manufacturers has overloaded ships on the China-Brazil route, both for cars and containers filled with spare parts and components. Importers of other materials, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), have been significantly affected. In the case of PP, some importers have stopped importing this resin from China and other Asian countries due to the substantial increase in freight costs. As a result, PP buyers in Brazil and the rest of South America are meeting their needs with material sourced from the Middle East (in Brazil's case) and the US (for countries on the west coast of South America), or from regional producers like Braskem in Brazil, Esenttía in Colombia, Petrocuyo in Argentina, and to a lesser extent, Petroquim in Chile. Logistical Disruptions The current higher maritime freight rates between Asia and South America follow logistical disruptions in two of the world's most important navigation channels, the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal. The Panama Canal faced challenges last year due to severe drought, resulting in a decrease in authorized vessel crossings between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The usual 30 transits dropped to around 18 in February. While the situation in the Panama Canal is gradually improving, it has had consequences for commercial flows between polymer producers in Asia and consumers on the east coast of South America, namely Brazil and Argentina. Similarly, disruptions occurred between European producers and consumers on the west coast of South America, like Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Chile. Another critical maritime trade corridor, the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, continues to be impacted by armed actions from military groups. As a result, shipping companies have increasingly preferred the longer route around Africa's Cape of Good Hope, despite the longer distances and significantly elevated freight costs. By Frederico Fernandes Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding to build methanol-fuelled ship


24/06/18
24/06/18

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding to build methanol-fuelled ship

Tokyo, 18 June (Argus) — Japan's Mitsubishi Shipbuilding plans to build two methanol-fuelled coastal roll-on roll-off (RoRo) vessels at its Shimonoseki shipyard in west Japan's Yamaguchi prefecture, aiming to deliver them within the April 2027-March 2028 fiscal year. Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, a group company of engineering firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, will build two 15,750 gross tonne car carriers with 2,300 vehicle capacity. The RoRo ships, which are equipped with a ferry-type ramp for transport of wheeled cargo such as trucks and trailers, will be delivered to Japanese shipping firms Toyofuji Shipping and Fukuju Shipping. The ships will be equipped with dual-fuel engines, which can burn both methanol and conventional marine fuel. The company expects use of methanol to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 10pc compared with the use of conventional heavy oil. The ships can also use green methanol to further reduce CO2 emissions in the future. Methanol has emerged as a potential alternative fuel as the marine sector looks to cut its greenhouse gas emissions. Fellow Japanese shipbuilders Imabari Shipbuilding and Japan Marine United, as well as domestic vessel engineering firm Nihon Shipyard, also target to build 209,000dwt methanol-fuelled Capsize bulk carriers , aiming to deliver them to shipping firm NS United Kaiun from 2027. By Nanami Oki Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

EU imposes s-PVC anti-dumping duties on Egypt, US


24/06/17
24/06/17

EU imposes s-PVC anti-dumping duties on Egypt, US

London, 17 June (Argus) — The European Commission has proposed provisional anti-dumping duties on US and Egyptian- origin s-PVC imports following an investigation. The proposed duties are significant, ranging from 74.2pc to 100.1pc depending on the supplier, and would be applied to the cif import price before customs duties, effectively blocking most imports originating from the two countries. Interested parties have three working days to respond to the pre-disclosure information. The latest date for the commission to implement the provisional measures is 12 July. The EU imported an average of 20,000 t/month of PVC from the US and 4,000 t/month from Egypt in the first three months of this year, out of total imports averaging 52,000 t/month. S-PVC accounts for around 90pc of total imports, according to the original complaint that triggered the investigation. The trade complaint was initiated by three European producers which representing nearly half of EU production — Inovyn, Kem One and Vynova. Under their own analysis, the companies estimate a dumping margin of 40-59pc for US-origin s-PVC and 45pc for Egyptian-origin s-PVC between 1 October 2022 and 30 September 2023. The period in question was when the global PVC market was under significant pressure from weak demand. Other countries have initiated investigations covering the same or similar periods for a variety of exporting countries. A similar trade-remedy investigation on s-PVC imports from the US is underway in the UK. India recently implemented anti-dumping duties on e-PVC imports from China, South Korea, Malaysia, Norway, Taiwan and Thailand. India has also launched an investigation into dumping from China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the US during October 2022 to September 2023. Protectionist trade initiatives are on the rise in global chemical markets as weak demand and, in some cases, rising capacity have heaped pressure on many existing producers. Producers, particularly in Europe, have noted the burden of investment needed to meet EU sustainability and decarbonisation targets. In April, the European Commission imposed definitive anti-dumping duties on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) from China. By George Barsted and Alex Sands Provisional anti-dumping duties pc Country Company Dumping Margin Injury Margin Provisional anti-dumping duty Egypt Egyptian Petrochemical Company 109.5 100.1 100.1 Egypt TCI Sanmar S.A.E 86.1 74.2 74.2 Egypt All other companies 109.5 100.1 100.1 US Formosa Plastics Corporation 71.1 90.6 71.1 US Westlake Chemicals 58.0 87.2 58.0 US Oxy Vinyls, LP 63.7 88.3 63.7 US Shintech Incorporated 63.7 88.3 63.7 US All other companies 78.5 90.6 78.5 European Commission Europe and US PVC prices $/t EU-27 s-PVC imports 000t Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Huge potential for tray-to-tray recycling:PETCORE


24/06/17
24/06/17

Huge potential for tray-to-tray recycling:PETCORE

London, 17 June (Argus) — Ahead of the Petcore Europe Thermoforms Conference in Granada, Spain, on 25-26 June, the technical manager of Petcore Europe's thermoforming working group, Jose-Antonio Alarcon, spoke to Argus about the development and challenges of tray-to-tray recycling in Europe. Why is closing the loop on tray-to-tray packaging important for the European industry? Most of the PET recycling industry has been concentrated on recycling PET bottles, while tray packaging makes up around 25pc of the overall PET market in Europe. For many years, bottle producers were not keen to use recycled content in their packaging, so most recycled PET flakes were going into tray applications. As regulation continues to push up recycled content in bottles, more and more flakes are going to the bottle market, while trays have not followed the same circularity path and recycled content supply has become more competitive. Around 70pc of bottles are collected on average in Europe, but the figure is less than 30pc for trays. Only around 50,000 t/yr of trays are currently recycled in Europe, when more than 1mn t/yr are placed on the market. There is huge potential. Petcore Europe has been pushing for tray-to-tray solutions, and in the thermoforming working group we are working on dealing with barriers to making trays circular, looking at collection, recycling technologies, standardisation and design for recycling, food contact and communication. What are the major obstacles to scaling up tray-to-tray recycling? One is the collection of trays in most countries in Europe. In some countries, such as Italy, trays are collected together with other packaging types. In others — particularly where there is a deposit return system (DRS) for bottles — then trays are not properly collected. Collection is the first challenge, if you are not collecting, you are not sorting, you are not recycling. One country that is very successful in tray collection is Belgium. France is working on it and is doing a good job. And Italy is also carrying out trials, but these have been less successful — finding an appropriate outlet for material was a challenge and improvements need to be made to make this work. It is worth mentioning that, Corepla, the EPR system in Italy, has several industrial schemes to improve tray-to-tray recycling with selected recyclers. But the success story in Belgium really stands out. It is a chicken and egg scenario, why is there not more tray-to-tray recycling? Because it is not collected, sorted, recycled? Or maybe because there is not enough demand? If there is not the demand for inclusion of tray flake, then sorters do not have the critical mass to create a dedicated stream. The technology is advancing, there are sorting technologies capable of identifying PET bottles, PET mono-layer tray, PET multi-trays and there are recyclers today that are leading the market and recycling both mono and multi-layer trays already. No fewer than seven stakeholders in the value chain need to be convinced that tray-to-tray is the right thing to do and makes sense — both environmentally and economically. How do you see tray-to-tray recycling developing in the coming years? Ultimately, the market will determine the value of tray-to-tray recycling. The recycling of trays needs to evolve. Bottle recycling has been in place for more than 20 years, and there is a clear progression from how it looked at the beginning to how the market works today. The tray recycling sector is in its infancy, and it will take time to evolve. It needs to have the right level of interest and demand to progress. At the end of the day if things are not economically viable, they will not progress. The market needs to be self-sustaining. Some companies are already focused on recycling of multi and mono-layer recycling. And there is a learning curve. If you look at the number of players recycling bottles in Europe and compare it with recyclers of trays, it is very different. But it is growing, and most tray-to-tray projects only started in recent years. There will be more solutions — sorting and washing technology will improve, decontamination technology will improve. We need separate sorting, and the value chain and retailers to be aligned and moving in the right direction. Progress is slow, but it is necessarily so for the learning curve. At the same time, we need to put pressure on the market to catalyse this movement. Legislation will play a critical role, but the best action is to drive your own fate. How is regulation supporting the development of tray circularity? There are particular chapters on trays in Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) in EU regulation 2022/1616 and the Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD), but there is no specific legislation dedicated to thermoforming packaging just yet. In the SUPD, there is mention of on-the-go packaging that can be related to trays, but it covers all packaging types for single use, not specifically PET trays. Article 6 under EU regulation 2022/1616 mentions the need for separate collection of plastic to be used in food contact applications. This is where we need to work more on the collection and sorting of PET trays and have to push for the trays to be placed in a separate collection stream. While legalisation undoubtedly underpins demand for recycled content, Petcore aims to go above and beyond the minimum requirements set for the tray market. The thermoforming market needs to be circular and needs to be self-reliant, independent of the regulation imposed. Will the development of chemical recycling be in competition with tray-to-tray recycling? The aim of the association is to make the whole PET market circular — my expectation is that in the future there will most probably be some bottle flake going into trays and some tray flake going into bottles. There will also be some claim for chemical recycling, but each sector needs to have its own area, we need to have mechanical and chemical recycling working in harmony. Recycling of trays is not the same as recycling bottles, mechanical properties and composition of the packaging is different. And trays are more complex than bottles, because they have the tray, lidding film, inks, labels, etc. The percentage of multi-layer material is much higher in trays than in bottles and this makes the recycling process more complex. And design for recycling will help, but there is a place for both mechanical and chemical recycling. We need to look for the most conservate and sustainable recycling route — first this is mechanical, but when this is not possibility chemical recycling makes sense. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more