THE “SUP DIRECTIVE” AND THE FUTURE OF PLASTICS
Starting from the 3rd of July of this year, the European Directive “SUP” (Single Use Plastic) has come into force in all member states.
A directive that does not apply in any way to furnishing products – a sector in which Catas, the most important European laboratory in the sector, has been involved for more than fifty years – but which can lead to some careful thoughts on the theme of plastics. The “banning” of some disposable items responsible for a large part of the pollution of our planet – including plates, cutlery, straws, etc. – is undoubtedly a strong signal of the explicit desire to tackle the issue of materials which are considered “not sustainable ".
A directive that can and must therefore be interpreted as a first signal towards the limitation of the production and use of plastics in more general terms, considering the continuous and growing global alarms. Among these, one of the most dramatic concerns the accumulation of plastics and microplastics in the oceans which, continuing at current rates, will contain more plastic than fish already by 2050. Therefore the final goal could even bring to more drastic measures, as a recent article suggests. The prestigious journal “Science”, published an appeal signed by 14 scientits of various countries for an international agreement which goal would be the prohibition of the production of new virgin plastic already starting from 2040. From that date, therefore, only recycled plastic could be used.
This situation and its probable, although not desirable, dramatic evolution therefore requires a careful consideration. Possible strategies should aim at the future concerning, in addition to ethical and environmental aspects, also the marketing strategies of the furniture sector or of the individual companies belonging to it. We must necessarily pay attention to the evolution of this general picture, starting also to consider the possible alternatives, bioplastics, their compostability, rather than coming back, where possible, to wood.
Catas is particularly active on environmental issues and, precisely to meet the changing needs of an increasingly “green” market, it recently has developed a new service for the study of the life cycle assessment (LCA) of any raw material or finished product in the wood-furniture sector.
We remind you that the Life Cycle Assessment provides a sort of environmental “identity card” based on international shared rules and unified principles. The LCA study is therefore the objective basis on which to work towards improvements, awards and certifications.