LONDON (ICIS)--The EU has adopted the “first-ever” Europe-wide strategy on plastics in what it described as a bid to protect the planet, defend its citizens and empower its industries, the European Commission said on Tuesday.
Under the new plans, all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030, with consumption of single-use plastics reduced and the intentional use of microplastics restricted.
The EU has also committed to making recycling profitable for businesses; to curb plastic waste; to stop littering at sea; to drive investment and innovation, and to spur change across the world.
The EU’s executive body stated that the new rules on packaging alongside a better and standardised system for the separate collection and sorting of waste will save around €100 per tonne collected, delivering greater added value for a more competitive, resilient plastics industry.
With European legislation having already led to a significant reduction in plastic bag use, the new plans will turn to other single-use plastics and fishing gear.
New rules on port reception facilities will tackle sea-based marine litter, with measures to ensure that waste generated on ships or gathered at sea is not left behind but returned to land and adequately managed there.
Measures to reduce administrative burdens on ports, ships and competent authorities will also be included.
On the investment and innovation drive, the Commission says it will provide an “additional €100m financing” for the development of smarter and more recyclable plastic materials, making recycling processes more efficient and tracing and removing hazardous substances and contaminants from recycled plastics.
“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,” said the Commission’s first vice president Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development.
“With the EU Plastics Strategy we are also driving a new and more circular business model. We need to invest in innovative new technologies that keep our citizens and our environment safe whilst keeping our industry competitive.”
The Commission added that, in relation to the plastics strategy, it has adopted a monitoring framework, composed of a set of 10 key indicators which cover each phase of the cycle, which will measure progress towards the transition to a circular economy at EU and national level.
“With our plastic strategy we are laying the foundations for a new circular plastics economy, and driving investment towards it,” said vice president Jyrki Katainen.
“This will help to reduce plastic litter in land, air and sea while also bringing new opportunities for innovation, competitiveness and high quality jobs. This is a great opportunity for European industry to develop global leadership in new technology and materials.”
Pictured: Cherry tomatoes in plastic packages
Source: Design Pics Inc/REX/Shutterstock
Additional reporting by Pavle Popovic
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