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European Commission’s Plastics Strategy completely inadequate

Amsterdam, 8 November 2017 – The European Commission is expected to make public its views on plastic next month. The long-awaited Strategy on Plastics in a Circular Economy should guide Europe’s policy for the next decade. The leaked draft text reveals something of the Commision’s thoughts on plastic. In an open letter to European Commissioner Timmermans, the Plastic Soup Foundation responded that the proposed plastic policy is well below par and will not help control the growing plastic pollution.

The basic premise of the Plastics Strategy is that the production of plastics will continue unchecked but that the recycling of waste plastic needs to be improved. It recognises that plastic leakage into the environment is a problem that needs to be prevented through effective rubbish collection and behaviour change campaigns.

In its letter, the Plastic Soup Foundation states that reduction is the best way to prevent plastic pollution. Single-use plastic in particular must be drastically reduced by regulations. The Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive offer the opportunity to limit the production of plastic by item. This then covers the thin ubiquitous plastic bags.

The leaked draft strategy does not make the European Union’s position on microplastics in personal care products clear. The Beat the Microbead campaign demands a ban as stated in the Stop pollution of plastic from cosmetics through an EU-wide ban position paper last month. It would be easy to put a stop to microplastic pollution, but without regulations, the industry will simply continue its old ways.

Maria Westerbos, Director of the Plastic Soup Foundation, says that “We really need a change with mandatory reduction goals. The European Union has repeatedly talked about its commitment to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean. In the light of the Plastics Strategy it seems that these are empty words as the Plastics Strategy gives industry free hand to continue flooding our environment with plastic.”

Sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

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