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ClientEarth Communications

17th January 2018


EU plastics strategy could do more for the environment now

The EU has launched a strategy to tackle plastic waste, including commitments to phasing out single-use plastics and ensuring all plastic packaging is recyclable by 2030.

The strategy is ambitious and follows the lead of countries like France and the UK who have promised to eliminate unnecessary plastic waste.

ClientEarth wildlife lawyer, Tatiana Lujan, said: “The Commission has shown a landmark commitment to tackling plastic pollution, which should be applauded. The proposed recycling and design initiatives and voluntary agreements with industry will go some way to combating this problem. But more drastic action is also needed to curb the overall production of plastics in Europe.”

“We need to start phasing out and banning the worst plastic types and unnecessary, single-use plastics now, not in over ten years’ time. The proposal to ban microplastics under REACH is a step in the right direction. But to tackle this crisis and protect our seas and the marine life in them, the focus needs to be more on prevention, as well as reducing the amount of plastic that goes to waste.”

In the strategy, the Commission recognised that the lack of information about the presence of chemicals in materials “creates a significant obstacle to achieving higher recycling rates.”

ClientEarth chemicals lead, Dr Apolline Roger said: “Plastics need to be free from harmful substances so they can be safely recycled. The Commission rightly identifies the fact that we need to trace what chemicals are in the plastics we use.”

“But many dangerous substances like lead and DEHP are already knowingly present in plastics. The Commission is aware of this, but these substances aren’t mentioned in the strategy. This must become a priority.”