During a meeting of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee on July 10, 2018, an amended version of the European Commission’s European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy was approved.
The ENVI Committee released 484 amendments to the draft strategy, which was initially published in January 2018. Amendments solidify language in the draft, designate certain responsibilities to Member States and offer new proposals to be included in the Strategy.
Some examples of new proposals:
Require new plastic products to contain at least 50% recycled materials by 2025 and 75% by 2035.
Create a “single-use plastics” definition to achieve the EU’s target of reducing unnecessary single-use plastic waste and to regulate national implementation of bans.
Develop an action plan to phase out single-use plastic items in all European Institution buildings.
Create a roadmap for plastics in the market to be non-toxic and reusable.
Develop transparency tools and product/material passports with information about the product source and its previous use, environmental risks associated with using the product and how the product can be reused or recycled.
Investigate a possible tax on plastics in particular to promote a sustainable circular economy model and consider a Europe-wide deposit system for single-use drinks containers.
Deter away from making plastic packaging lighter and less able to be re-used.
Support research and innovation in sorting and recycling technologies for all plastics, including products and packaging.
The ENVI Committee’s amendments call on Member States to:
Investigate how a tax on virgin plastics could make the price of recycled plastics more competitive.
Consider banning single-use plastics wherever possible – plastic bottles, cutlery, plates, cups, straws, cotton buds, disposable lighters, disposable diapers, non-refillable pens and bags.
Local and Regional Authorities would be asked to consider setting public procurement policies and eco-design criteria to improve plastic recycling by demanding products be made of plastics that are fully recyclable, and a certain percentage be made using recycled content.
The European Parliament will vote in a plenary session mid-September. The European Council of Ministers will consider the Commission’s draft strategy and Parliament’s amendments and can further amend the document before publication. Final approval of the strategy is at least a few months away.