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European Union sets 2030 target for recyclable plastic packaging

17 January 2018

Under the plans, all plastic packaging placed on the European Union market will be recyclable by 2030, the consumption of single-use plastics will be reduced and the intentional use of microplastics will be restricted.

"The commission aims to increase plastic recycling and for all plastic packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2030", the executive body said.

Europeans produce 25 million tons of plastic waste annually, but less than 30% of it is now recycled, the commission said.

It added: "The Commission will also take measures to restrict the use of microplastics in products, and fix labels for biodegradable and compostable plastics".

What we need is a focus on instituting reusables and banning single-use plastics - not just telling people to recycle.

Following China's decision to ban imports of foreign recyclable material, Brussels on Tuesday launched a plastics strategy created to change minds in Europe, potentially tax damaging behaviour, and modernise plastics production and collection by investing €350m (£310m) in research.

The strategy also commits the Commission to table legislative proposals by 2018 targeting single-use plastic items, such as coffee cups, based on the results of ongoing public consultations. "Change is afoot, but how quickly and effectively individual nations and industries will respond to these challenges is now the million-dollar question".

The European Commission proposed its new strategy on reducing plastic waste
The European Commission proposed its new strategy on reducing plastic waste

It comes as part of a new Europe-wide strategy on plastics, which was launched today.

He added Europe does not yet have a functioning single recycling market for plastic as there are no set standards.

The proposals did not contain plans for a tax on plastic packaging, which budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger proposed last week to fight pollution and to help plug a hole of around 13 billion euros in the bloc's budget caused by Brexit.

About two-thirds of plastic waste comes from packaging.

With an additional €100m fund, the commission will help to develop smarter recyclable plastics materials and remove hazardous substances and contaminants from recycled plastics. We can't export these plastics any more to China.

New port reception facilities will seek to streamline waste management to ensure less gets dumped in the oceans under a directive already published. Even if plastic is recycled, it can only be down-cycled, always reformed into a lesser version of itself, until eventually it goes to landfill.

Continuing in the spirit of the 2015 Circular Economy Package, the Plastics Strategy has been prepared by a core project team of First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Commissioners Karmenu Vella and Elżbieta Bieńkowska. Members will also be obliged to monitor and reduce marine litter.

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European Union sets 2030 target for recyclable plastic packaging