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European Commission adopts first ever EU wide plastics strategy: all plastics should be recyclable by 2030
CNA - Athanasios Athanasiou - Belgium/Brussels 16/01/2018 17:53


Commission College of Commissioners agreed today to a first-ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics, as a part of the transition towards a more circular European economy. Today`s pack of proposals aims at financial incentives for recycling, curbing overall plastics usage, stopping littering the sea and driving innovation for the future creation of more eco- friendly plastics and a target for all plastics to be recyclable by 2030. According to the Commission, this approach will bring new opportunities for innovation, competitiveness and job creation.

More specifically, according to the proposal adopted, the new strategy contains the following priorities:

- Make recycling profitable for business: New rules on packaging will be developed to improve the recycle of plastics used In the market and increase the demand for recycled plastic content. With more plastic being collected, improved and scaled up recycling facilities should be set up, alongside a better and standardised system for the separate collection and sorting of waste across the EU. This will save around a hundred euros per tonne collected. It will also deliver greater added value for a more competitive, resilient plastics industry.

- Curb plastic waste: European legislation has already led to a significant reduction in plastic bag use in several Member States. The new plans will now turn to other single-use plastics and fishing gear, supporting national awareness campaigns and determining the scope of new EU-wide rules to be proposed in 2018 based on stakeholder consultation and evidence. The Commission will also take measures to restrict the use of microplastics in products, and fix labels for biodegradable and compostable plastics.

- Stop littering at sea: 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. Also included are measures to reduce the administrative burden on ports, ships and competent authorities.

- Drive investment and innovation: The Commission will provide guidance for national authorities and European businesses on how to minimise plastic waste at source. Support for innovation will be scaled up, with an additional €100 million financing the development of smarter and more recyclable plastics materials, making recycling processes more efficient, and tracing and removing hazardous substances and contaminants from recycled plastics.

- Spur change across the world: As the European Union does its own homework, we will also work with partners from around the world to come up with global solutions and develop international standards.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said: "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".

Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, added: "With our plastic strategy we are laying the foundations for a new circular plastics economy, and driving investment towards it. This will help to reduce plastic litter in land, air and sea while also bringing new opportunities for innovation and global leadership in new technology and materials."

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 microplastics in air, water and food having an unknown impact on their health.

CNA/THA/GV/2018
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY


** The news item is in the context of the project Rethink: Reduce- Reuse – Recycle which is funded by the EU programme LIFE+ (project code: LIFE13 INF/CY/000910) of the EU. Coordinating Beneficiary: CyBC. Partners: Green Dot Cyprus, Department of Environment, Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, CNA, Fost Plus Belgium **

 

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