The European Commission announced in January this year that it has adopted the first-ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics, as part of the EU’s transition towards a more circular economy. The goal is to protect the environment whilst at the same time laying foundations for a new plastics economy, where design and production fully respect reuse, repair and recycling needs, and more sustainable materials will have to be developed.
Under the new strategy, all plastic packaging on the EU market will, it is intended, be recyclable by 2030, the consumption of single-use plastics will be reduced, and the intentional use of microplastics will be restricted.
Every year, Europeans generate 25 million tons of plastic waste, but less than 30% is collected for recycling. Across the world, plastics make up 85% of beach litter.
The EU wants to ensure that plastic packaging itself is fully recyclable and improve consumer labeling by creating new standards of quality. The Commission has announced that it will introduce measures to limit microplastic pollutants for the oceans, such as those used in cosmetics. Action on plastics was identified as a priority in the 2015 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 16, 2018 will transform the way plastic products are designed, used, produced and recycled in the EU.