Under the new strategy, the European Union will:
Make recycling profitable for business: New rules on packaging will be developed to improve the recyclability of plastics used on 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.
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.
The initiatives adopted by the College take the form of a Communication on a European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy; a Communication on the Interface between Chemicals, Products and Waste; a Monitoring Framework on the Circular Economy; a new Directive on Port Reception Facilities. They are complemented by the Report on Critical Raw Materials and the Report on Oxo-plastics.
The European Commission adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Package on 2 December 2015, of which today's measures form part.
The Plastics Strategy will also make a tangible contribution to reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement objectives on climate change.
The EU has already taken significant steps by setting requirements for Member States to adopt measures to cut the consumption of plastic bags and to monitor and reduce marine litter.
Going forward, there are also significant prospects for developing an innovative circular plastics industry worldwide.