Emmanuel Guichard, managing director at Elipso / A French perspective on EU plastics strategy / Much debate on bottle deposit scheme in France / Emmanuel Macron's goals for recycled plastics exceed EU's
Emmanuel Guichard is managing director of the French plastic packaging industry association, Elipso (Paris; He spoke to about the European Commission's recently published plastics strategy, with views from inside France. Some of the issues he discussed are the French president's political positions and commitments related to plastics, tools for eco-design and the positive impacts of setting Europe-wide as well as national goals. The EU strategy for plastics includes new targets for packaging – what regulations do you expect in the French packaging market in the future?

Guichard: Emmanuel Macron will probably not let France have a different regulation on packaging, because he is a promoter of the single market. So I doubt we will have specific legislation, but we will have strong incentive through the “ecomodulation” system already in place for packaging. The extended producer responsibility (EPR) fee is modulated by some recyclability criteria/incorporation of recycled content, with a “bonus-malus” system. Also, there is a very strong debate about the introduction of a deposit scheme in France, including for glass, aluminium and some plastic bottles. In order to achieve the ambitious goal of a four times increase in the use of recycled plastics in Europe, you see the need for voluntary commitments from the industry. Which one in detail?

Guichard: Macron’s objective is not four times, but to recycle 100% of French plastics production! It is an idealist view, but still quite positive, after years of banning plastic products in France (bags, cups…). The French government will favour voluntary commitments, based on the example of the Dutch “Green Deal” programme. These commitments will involve some leading companies with a combined sector/resin approach (a food company with a recycler, for example). The deadline is in line with the EU plastic strategy calendar and most announcements should be made before the summer: quite a challenge! What kinds of eco-design requirements will French plastic packaging producers have to deal with – in the short and long term?

Guichard: Eco-design is far more than recyclability, for example. Plastic packaging ensures optimum protection, giving it a high economic and environmental value. Its oxygen or humidity barrier significantly extends the lifespan and nutritional quality of food. Our sister association in Germany, Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen (IK, Bad Homburg;, works on global eco-design guidelines, which will be available online to all members of the supply chain and the general public later on this year (more info at In France, a technical committee for eco-design for recycling is producing technical advice on recyclability of plastic packaging – an English version was released last year. It is a concrete tool to explain to packaging producers and their clients how to improve a design for recyclability of plastic packaging. Critics of the EU plastics strategy say its goals are not radical enough. What can you answer to that?

Guichard: The goal of having 100% of plastic packaging recyclable or reusable by 2030, it is radical! We hope the plastic strategy will give the necessary boost to all the value chain to think in a more circular manner, including our clients, sorting centres, resin producers and, of course, EU citizens. Thank you for your time!
12.02.2018 997 [239017-0]
Published on 12.02.2018

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