Building upon previous efforts to tackle the escalating problem of plastic pollution, in January 2018 the EU adopted the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy. The Strategy aims to protect the environment and citizens from plastic pollution and to demonstrate the business case for transforming the way that products are designed, produced, used and recycled. Under the new plans, all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030, the consumption of single-use plastics will be reduced and the intentional use of microplastics will be restricted. The strategy highlights the main commitments for action at EU level but also emphasises the important role of businesses, together with national and regional authorities, and citizens.
Specifically, under the new strategy, the EU will aim at:
- Improving the economics and quality of plastics recycling. Key players such as industry, plastics manufacturers, etc. are encouraged to work together to make plastics and plastic products easier to recycle. Efforts should be also focused on expanding and improving the separate collection of plastic waste and modernising the EU’s sorting and recycling capacity. Finally, demand for recycled plastics will be stimulated.
- Limiting plastic waste: The use of plastic bags was reduced considerably in several Member States. The new plans will now turn to other single-use plastics and fishing gear, supporting national awareness campaigns and determining the scope of new EU-wide rules. On 18 April 2018 the European Parliament approved the package to update current waste management rules, including new targets for recycling, packaging and landfilling. New recycling targets for different waste streams were introduced, among which recycling target for plastic waste: 50% (by 2025) and 55% (by 2030). The EC will also take measures to restrict the use of microplastics in products.
- Ceasing littering at sea: New rules on port reception facilities will address marine litter, with measures to ensure that waste generated on ships or gathered at sea is returned to land and adequately managed there.
- Driving investment and innovation: The EC will provide guidance for national authorities and businesses on how to minimise plastic waste at source. Innovation will be supported and an additional EUR 100 million will be available for the development of more recyclable plastics materials, more efficient recycling processes, and for removing hazardous substances from recycled plastics.
- Encourage change across the world: EU will also work with partners from around the world to come up with global solutions and develop international standards.
What are the national and regional authorities encouraged to do?
|On making plastics recycling attractive for businesses||On tackling marine litter||On driving investments and innovation|
The Plastics Strategy is an important step in the right direction to tackle plastics waste and emphasises the EU’s circular economy ambitions.
Image credit: Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay
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