The “Polymer REACH” project has identified a number of key factors which will provide fundamental help in steering the project going forward, for the benefit of polymer companies across Europe, led by iSmithers, the information business within Smithers Rapra. Most importantly, the project has identified varying levels of awareness of REACH across the Member states, a severe lack of specific information about REACH relating to the polymer industries and also strong industry support for the forthcoming e-learning tool that will be the end-product from this collaborative project. These findings are the result of a “State of the Art” report which has been produced by the consortium, backed up by a detailed industry benchmarking survey. The State of the Art report provides a comprehensive listing of current sources of information about the REACH legislation, as well as contact details for national help-lines.
The Benchmarking Survey, involving 135 detailed industry interviews, highlighted a lack of awareness or understanding of company responsibilities in over 20% of cases in countries including Italy, Portugal and Lithuania. Companies currently tend to search out information about REACH either from their national associations or else from nationally-based 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. “Polymer REACH”, is 6 months into its two-year program, which will run until the end of 2011. The project is supported by funding of €0.5 million from the Leonardo “Lifelong Learning Programme”, with a team of eight European partners, led by iSmithers, working with other partners from the UK, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Lithuania and Estonia. By facilitating the implementation of REACH, the project will help to bring about the planned-for environmental gains, whilst at the same time lessening the economic burden on companies.
Anyone is welcome to register free of charge on www.polymer-reach.eu. Copies of both the State of the Art 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.