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Brussels wages war against plastic

Submitted by on 17 Jan 2018 – 13:03

Every year, Europeans generate 25 million tonnes of plastic waste, but less than 30% is collected for recycling. Across the world, plastics make up 85% of beach litter. And plastics are even reaching citizens’ lungs and dinner tables, with micro plastics in air, water and food, having an unknown impact on their health.

in a measure to clean up the oceans and our tables, the European Commission has launched a war against plastics. Following China’s recent ban of plastic waste imports, Brussels has stepped forward to address plastic pollution with the release of its Strategy on Plastics in the Circular Economy.

Speaking to European journalists, vice-president of the Commission, Frans Timmermans said Brussels’ priority was to clamp down on “single-use plastics that take five seconds to produce, you use it for five minutes and it takes 500 years to break down again.” Noting that we cannot live without plastics, he pointed out that “we can be killed by them.”

With 700 kilos of plastic disappearing in the ocean every second, “If we don’t change the way we produce and use plastics, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050. We must stop plastics getting into our water, our food, and even our bodies. The only long-term solution is to reduce plastic waste by recycling and reusing more. This is a challenge that citizens, industry and governments must tackle together”

With the EU Plastics Strategy, the European Commission is driving a new and more circular business model. The Commission notes that there is a strong business case for transforming the way products are designed, produced, used, and recycled in the EU. Taking the lead in this transition, the Commission promises to create new investment opportunities and jobs. 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 will transform the way products are designed, produced, used, and recycled in the EU. Too often, the manner in which plastics are produced, used and discarded fail to capture the economic benefits of a more circular approach. It harms the environment.

The Commission noted that the goal of the strategy is to protect the environment, whilst at the same time lay foundations to a new plastics economy, where the design and production fully respect reuse, repair and recycling needs and more sustainable materials are developed.

Look out for a detailed coverage of the EU Plastics Strategy in our next edition.