Plastics are an important material in our economy, and modern daily life is unthinkable without them. At the same time however, they can have serious downsides on the environment and health. Action on plastics was identified as a priority in the Circular Economy Action Plan, to help European businesses and consumers to use resources in a more sustainable way.
The first-ever European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy adopted on January 2018 will transform the way plastic products are designed, used, produced and recycled in the EU. Better design of plastic products, higher plastic waste recycling rates, more and better quality recyclates will help boosting the market for recycled plastics. It will deliver greater added value for a more competitive, resilient plastics industry.
The strategy is part of Europe’s transition towards a circular economy, and will also contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, the global climate commitments and the EU’s industrial policy objectives. This strategy will help protect our environment, reduce marine litter, greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on imported fossil fuels. It will support more sustainable and safer consumption and production patterns for plastics.
The European Commission proposed on May 2018 new EU-wide rules to target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas, as well as lost and bandoned fishing gear. Together these constitute 70% of all marine litter items.