(STRASBOURG) – The EU Parliament gave its green light Wednesday to measures to tackle marine litter, targeting 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches, as well as abandoned fishing gear.
The rules on Single-Use Plastics items and fishing gear are part of an EU Plastics Strategy – the most comprehensive strategy in the world adopting a material-specific lifecycle approach with the vision and objectives to have all plastic packaging placed on the EU market as reusable or recyclable by 2030.
“Once implemented, the new rules will not only prevent plastic pollution, but also make the European Union the world leader in a more sustainable plastic policy,” said Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen: “The European Parliament has played an essential role in laying the foundation for this transformation and in giving a chance to the industry to innovate, thus driving forward our circular economy.”
The Single-Use Plastics Directive voted on by the European Parliament today tackles directly marine litter thanks to a set of ambitious measures:
- A ban on selected single-use products made of plastic for which alternatives exist on the market: cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, sticks for balloons, as well as cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and on all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.
- Measures to reduce consumption of food containers and beverage cups made of plastic and specific marking and labelling of certain products.
- Extended Producer Responsibility schemes covering the cost to clean-up litter, applied to products such as tobacco filters and fishing gear.
- A 90% separate collection target for plastic bottles by 2029 (77% by 2025) and the introduction of design requirements to connect caps to bottles, as well as target to incorporate 25% of recycled plastic in PET bottles as from 2025 and 30% in all plastic bottles as from 2030.
The proposed Directive follows a similar approach to the successful 2015 Plastic Bags Directive, which brought about a rapid shift in consumer behavior. When implemented the new measures will bring about both environmental and economic benefits, such as for example:
- – avoid the emission of 3.4 million tons of CO2 equivalent;
- – avoid environmental damages which would cost the equivalent of €22 billion by 2030;
- – save consumers a projected €6.5 billion.
Following this approval by the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers will finalise the formal adoption. This endorsement will be followed by the publication of the texts in the Official Journal of the Union. Member States will then have two years to transpose the legislation into their national law.