In 2018, the EU published a strategy to address the issues around plastics for up to the year 2030, saying that: “Too often the way plastics are currently produced, used and discarded fails to capture the economic benefits of a more ‘circular’ approach and harms the environment. There is an urgent need to tackle the environmental problems that today cast a long shadow over the production, use and consumption of plastics. Rethinking and improving the functioning of such a complex value chain requires efforts and greater cooperation by all its key players, from plastics producers to recyclers, retailers and consumers. It also calls for innovation and a shared vision to drive investment in the right direction. The plastics industry is very important to the European economy and increasing its sustainability can bring new opportunities for innovation, competitiveness and job creation, in line with the objectives pursued by the renewed EU Industrial Policy Strategy.”
EU Single Plastic Use Directive
In May 2019, The European Commission proposed new EU-wide rules to target single-use plastic products, with the aim to prevent and reduce plastic marine litter by complementing the measures set out under the EU Plastics Strategy, addressing the identified gaps in the existing actions and legislation, and further reinforcing the EU’s systemic approach to this issue.
The initiative should be seen in the broader context of the transition to a circular economy. It will support innovative solutions for new business models, multi-use alternatives and alternative single use products. This systemic change and material substitution will also promote bio-based alternatives and an innovative bioeconomy, bringing new opportunities for businesses and improving consumer convenience. Furthermore, it will have a direct, positive impact on collection rates, the quality of the collected material and subsequent recycling, offering opportunities for recycling businesses and the increase of recycled content into products.
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