Shropshire, UK - The "Polymer REACH" project says it has identified key factors which will help steer its future work, for the benefit of polymer companies across Europe.
Most importantly, the project has identified low levels of awareness of REACH across member states and "a severe lack of specific information about REACH relating to the polymer industries."
The group, led by iSmithers, the information unit of Smithers Rapra, also says the industry has shown strong support for the e-learning tool that will come out of this collaborative project.
A Polymer REACH report, backed by a detailed industry benchmarking survey, provides a comprehensive listing of current sources of information about the REACH legislation (REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), as well as contact details for national help-lines.
From 135 detailed industry interviews, the group highlighted: a lack of awareness of company responsibilities in over 20 percent of cases, in countries including Italy, Portugal and Lithuania. Companies tend to seek information about REACH from either their national associations or national help-desks.
Information on how to communicate with suppliers was most valuable to them, but almost 80% of companies found difficulty in getting advice on who should be involved with REACH from within their companies.
The two-year project, started at the end of 2009, will develop a readily-accessible e-learning tool over the coming 12 months. Companies participating in the survey greatly welcomed this tool, particularly because it will be specific to polymers and available without the need to travel.
The project website www.polymer-reach.eu is now also running, and anyone is welcome to register free of charge. Copies of both the current report and also the benchmarking survey are freely available to download from the website and everyone who registers will be kept up to date as the project progresses over the next 18 months.
Polymer REACH is supported by funding of Euro 0.5 million ($0.65 million) from the Leonardo "Lifelong Learning Programme," with a team of eight European partners from the UK, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Lithuania and Estonia.
By aiding REACH's implementation, the organisers said the project will help to bring about the planned-for environmental gains, whilst lessening the economic burden on companies.
More information on the Polymer REACH project can be obtained from Suzanne Wilkinson, tel +44 (0)1939 252435 email [email protected]