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The EU’s chemicals industry has given a cold reception to a proposal from the regulator which would sharply reduce the use of microplastics in several downstream sectors.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is to propose to the European Commission – the EU’s executive body – a 20-year plan which would prevent 500,000 tonnes of microplastics being released to the environment during the 20-year plan implementation.
Among others, microplastics are common in cosmetics, fertilizers, or detergents.
ECHA said the plan’s potential high costs would be justified to avoid the environmental harm microplastics imply; the regulator said costs during the 20-year plan’s implementation could stand between €10.8bn and €19.1bn, depending on how far the restrictions would go.
For industry, the costs would come from reformulating microplastic-free products that would still have similar functions or alternatively sourcing alternative raw materials “which may be more costly”, said ECHA.
The industry would also be expected to chip in in costs related to compliance, as would national governments when enforcing these strictest rules.