Summary of the Commissions‘s initiative on plastics

This would be my summary of the excellent initiative taken by the Commission on plastics waste ( )

– some facts:
. packaging represents 59% of the EU plastic waste generation
. recycled plastic covers todays only 6% of plasics demand in EU
. single-use plastics items represent 50% of marine litter
. only 2/3 of the plastics recycling business in France is profitable, needs for consolidation and innovation

– the vision of the Commission:
. by 2030 all plastics packaging placed on the EU market is either reusable or can be recycled in a cost-effective manner
. by 2030, more than half of the plastic waste generated in Europe is recycled

Over the past months, the Commission facilitated a cross-industry dialogue and now calls on the industries involved to swiftly come with an ambitious and concrete set of voluntary commitments.

– Commission’s future action:
. will work on a revision of the essential requirements for placing packaging on the market in order to make sure that by 2030, all plastics packaging placed on the EU market are reusable or easily recycled;
. for construction, automobile, furniture and elctronics sectors we lack the information regarding the possible presence of chemicals of concern. This is an obstacle to recycling. The Commission suggests to better trace chemicals in recycled streams;
. will issue new guidance on separate collection and sorting of waste;
. will promote access to tap water, reducing packaging needs for bottled water;
. started a public consultation to determine the scope of a legislative initiative on single-use plastics;
. will explore the feasibility of introduction measures of a fiscal nature on single use plastics;
. European Solidarity Corps with a budget of 341,5M€, can be used to finance beach cleaning from plastics;
. will propose harmonised rules for defining and labelling compostable and biodegradable plastics (so-called biodegradable plastics generally degrade under specific conditions which may not always be easy to find in the natural environment);
. will drive investment (8,4 to 16,6bn€ investment need only on plastics recycling)
. 250M€ Horizon 2020 budget also covers plastics R&D and innovation, 100M€ in addition only for plastics agenda
. supports Extended Producer Responsibility schemes where producers bear a financial responsibility, such EPR could also contribute to finance plastics circular economy
5,5bn€ invested by European Structural and Investment Fund in waste management.

Naturally this is only a declaration of intend and not an approved plan ready for execution. We need the good will of a lot of players, European Parliament, Council, Member States. I would suggest few MEPs mandate a sortition Forum to closely follow this initiative.

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