Commission publishes new plastic strategy

Under the new plastics strategy the Commission has published today, all plastic packaging in the EU will become recyclable by 2030, the consumption of single-use plastics will be reduced and the intentional use of microplastics restricted.

More plastics than fish by 2050 if nothing is done

First Vice President of the Commission Frans Timmermans highlighted in a press conference that we can’t live without plastics, but that they can kill us unless policies are changed. “If we don’t change the way we produce and use plastics, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050.”

Vice President Jyrki Katainen also said that 25 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced each year, but that this is mostly exported to Asian countries. According to the Commission, less than 30% of this plastic waste is collected for recycling. 85% of beach litter also constitutes of plastics.

Measures to tackle plastic use

Today, the Commission has proposed a directive on port reception facilities, introducing measures intended to stop waste generated on ships being left behind but adequately managed on land. As well as that, the Commission wants to reduce the administrative burden on ports and ships.

Other proposals, such as on single-use plastics or new packaging rules, will be presented throughout 2018 and 2019. For example, potentially restricting the use of various colours in plastics was mentioned, as well as standardising some of the products so they don’t mix various materials.

EU tax on plastics?

Asked about the potential taxing of plastic products to raise revenue for the EU budget, Katainen mentioned that the better the implementation of the plastic strategy was, the less money the EU would collect. “We have not yet found a way to introduce a European wide plastic tax.”

“Will we manage to find a well a functioning European wide tax on plastics? I have my doubts.”

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