The new EU Directives on the reduction of the impact of single use plastic products on the environment

See the new EU Plastics Strategy!

Plastic is an important and ubiquitous material in our economy and daily lives. It has multiple functions that help tackle a number of the challenges facing our society. However, 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. The million tonnes of plastic litter that end up in the oceans every year are one of their most visible and alarming signs of these problems, causing growing public concern. 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.

In December 2015, the Commission adopted an EU Action Plan for a circular economy that identified plastics as a key priority and committed itself to ‘prepare a strategy addressing the challenges posed by plastics throughout the value chain and taking into account their entire life-cycle’. In 2017, the Commission confirmed it would focus on plastics production and use and work towards the goal of ensuring that all plastic packaging is recyclable by 2030. The EU is best placed to lead the transition to the plastics of the future. This strategy lays the foundations to a new plastics economy, where the design and production of plastics and plastic products fully respect reuse, repair and recycling needs and more sustainable materials are developed and promoted. This will deliver greater added value and prosperity in Europe and boost innovation. It will curb plastic pollution and its adverse impact on our lives and the environment. By pursuing these aims, the strategy will also help achieve the priority set by this Commission for an Energy Union with a modern, low-carbon, resource and energy-efficient economy and will make a tangible contribution to reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. The strategy presents key commitments for action at EU level. 

See the Directives here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32019L0904&fbclid=IwAR0hcemvVHiEmYJcAQUdkvJCJF0vmkbeEFBKpnl3xdn41ZMayyxOqaxpLTs

Download the brochure here: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/pdf/plastics-strategy-brochure.pdf