The European food packaging industry has turned its eyes on the UK to determine what moves its Government will take with regards the classification of packaging release liners - a ruling that will eventually help clarify future EU waste package recycling objectives.
The problem the UK Government has with release liner is one of actually determining whether or not to classify it as packaging waste because, technically, it is not applied to the lining.Presently most of Europe classifies release liner as an integral part of a self-adhesive label stock laminate and therefore "packaging waste." Up until now this has not been the case in the UK, but recent UK Government and industry discussions point to a change to the more general European view that release liners are an intrinsic part of packaging.
It is not only the UK that is holding up the implementation process though. All member states were required to comply with the EU directive to reduce waste from packaging by the end of 2001 and most have not begun to do so because of uncertainty on specific technical issues and other clarifications. And although industry associations, including FINAT and EPSMA, lobby strongly for an appropriate waste management platform, no solution has presented itself so far.
Whatever the final solution, it will have an indelible impact on the packaging industry and on supply side characteristics throughout the value chain - not just in Europe but eventually elsewhere. Environmental issues certainly are not going to disappear from anyone's agenda.