FranceAgrimer Publishes a Report on EPS in the Aquatic Sector

A recent­ly pub­lished report by FranceA­griMer pro­vides an in-depth analy­sis of the usage of Expand­ed Poly­styrene (EPS) in the Euro­pean aquat­ic indus­try. This exten­sive report, cru­cial for indus­try stake­hold­ers, address­es the stag­ger­ing annu­al influx of 35,176 tonnes of EPS into aquat­ic sys­tems and explores effec­tive recy­cling solu­tions and alter­na­tives to EPS. Through metic­u­lous research, includ­ing inter­views, sur­veys, and analy­ses, the report eval­u­ates alter­na­tive strate­gies con­sid­er­ing the 3R strat­e­gy (Reduce, Reuse, Recy­cle), com­pli­ance with health reg­u­la­tions (EC Reg­u­la­tion No 852/2004), and envi­ron­men­tal impacts. This study assess­es var­i­ous sce­nar­ios to under­stand their eco­nom­ic and organ­i­sa­tion­al impli­ca­tions bet­ter, there­by guid­ing future reg­u­la­to­ry requirements.


EPS in the Aquatic Industry: A Critical Evaluation

The report high­lights the crit­i­cal role of EPS in the French aquat­ic sec­tor, espe­cial­ly for its supe­ri­or isother­mal prop­er­ties essen­tial in seafood ship­ping con­tain­ers. How­ev­er, the recy­cling of these con­tain­ers remains a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge. While large-scale han­dlers with com­pact­ing facil­i­ties have devel­oped effec­tive recy­cling sys­tems, small­er indus­try play­ers strug­gle with logis­ti­cal con­straints and dis­persed vol­umes. A sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of EPS con­tain­ers also comes from imports, com­pli­cat­ing the recy­cling land­scape. The report sug­gests that even a reg­u­la­to­ry ban on EPS use in France might not com­pre­hen­sive­ly address the chal­lenge posed by import­ed EPS vol­umes, there­by stress­ing the need for a more robust recy­cling infrastructure.


Exploring Alternative Solutions and Recycling Pathways

The con­sen­sus among indus­try stake­hold­ers under­scores the neces­si­ty of EPS in seafood con­tain­ers, with a com­plete phase-out deemed cur­rent­ly unfea­si­ble. The report advo­cates for improv­ing EPS col­lec­tion and recy­cling process­es, which could sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce the vol­umes of unre­cy­cled EPS. Stake­hold­ers express sup­port for the idea of con­sol­i­dat­ing vol­umes and shar­ing recy­cling resources to opti­mise the process. More­over, state and reg­u­la­to­ry sup­port, along with inno­v­a­tive recy­cling solu­tions, are con­sid­ered essen­tial. The report also dis­cuss­es test­ing recy­clable or reusable pack­ag­ing alter­na­tives, acknowl­edg­ing that this shift would neces­si­tate sub­stan­tial adjust­ments in cur­rent prac­tices across the aquat­ic industry’s segments.


Economic Implications and Future Prospects

A key aspect of the report is its focus on the eco­nom­ic impli­ca­tions of tran­si­tion­ing away from EPS. It esti­mates a sig­nif­i­cant increase in costs for var­i­ous indus­try play­ers, rang­ing from 105% to 432% in cer­tain sce­nar­ios. The impact on the tra­di­tion­al fish­mon­ger seg­ment, includ­ing a poten­tial increase in con­sumer prices and a decrease in busi­ness mar­gins, is par­tic­u­lar­ly high­light­ed. This eco­nom­ic analy­sis under­scores the com­plex­i­ty of replac­ing EPS and the need for fea­si­ble, cost-effec­tive alternatives.


Regulatory Challenges and Industry Response

The report exam­ines the reg­u­la­to­ry land­scape and its impact on EPS usage in the aquat­ic indus­try. It notes the chal­lenges posed by exist­ing and upcom­ing reg­u­la­tions, par­tic­u­lar­ly in main­tain­ing the cold chain and ensur­ing prod­uct fresh­ness. The study also acknowl­edges the var­ied respons­es of indus­try play­ers to these reg­u­la­to­ry chal­lenges, rang­ing from explor­ing alter­na­tive pack­ag­ing solu­tions to advo­cat­ing for the con­tin­ued use of EPS.


In con­clu­sion, the FranceA­griMer report pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive overview of the chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties asso­ci­at­ed with EPS usage in the Euro­pean aquat­ic indus­try. It empha­sis­es the need for a bal­anced approach that con­sid­ers envi­ron­men­tal respon­si­bil­i­ties, prac­ti­cal indus­try needs, and eco­nom­ic via­bil­i­ty. Enhanc­ing recy­cling sys­tems, explor­ing viable alter­na­tives, and fos­ter­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion and inno­va­tion are cru­cial steps towards a sus­tain­able future in the aquat­ic sec­tor. The report under­scores the impor­tance of reg­u­la­to­ry sup­port and indus­try-wide coop­er­a­tion in achiev­ing this goal, paving the way for a more envi­ron­men­tal­ly respon­si­ble and eco­nom­i­cal­ly sus­tain­able aquat­ic industry.

AuthorIngrid Morin