Europe has a plan to reduce the amount of plastic waste

On Wednesday, the European Union presented a new plan to combat the growing amount of plastic waste. The proposal focuses mainly on the reduction of packaging materials, and it also includes mandatory backup and return systems for single-use plastic beverage bottles and metal cans. The aim is also to reduce the amount of packaging in connection with online shops and the import of goods, writes The Guardian.

Already in 2019, the EU passed a law banning the most common single-use plastic items, such as plastic cutlery, stirrers and straws, but officials want to go even further this time.

The EU executive wants to completely ban “unnecessary packaging”, such as small shampoo bottles in hotels, as part of the proposal or disposable packaging for small quantities of fruit and vegetables. Restaurants and hotels will also not be allowed to use disposable cups and plates for serving. The new rules will still have to be approved by member countries and the European Parliament.

Microplastics have been found in seawater, the placenta of pregnant women or in human blood

The measures aim to reduce the amount of packaging waste by 5% compared to 2018 values ​​by the end of this decade and by 15% by 2040, writes

Bloomberg agency.

It is assumed that the average European produces 180kg of packaging waste each year and this figure could increase by up to 19% by 2030 without the proposed measures in place, according to The Guardian.

“The way goods are packaged should be much better,” said Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission. “Too much single-use packaging is a nuisance and is increasingly damaging our environment.”

“We want to make more packaging reusable, because recycling alone will not solve our problem of piling up waste. And reusable packaging in a well-functioning system is much better for the environment than disposable packaging,” he added.

In addition, EU officials estimate that 40% of new plastics and 50% of paper are used in packaging, making the sector a significant consumer of new materials.

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“Unless we change current trends, the volume of plastic waste could increase by up to 46% by 2030,” said Virginijus Sinkevicius, European Commissioner for the Environment.

Big companies such as Nestlé or Carlsberg welcomed the proposal and stated that they are already taking steps to reduce the amount of waste. Brewers of Europe, the trade body for the beer industry, said it wanted adequate regulation fair to all trade sectors.

However, the proposal is expected to face some opposition from the packaging industry and its customers, who are likely to have to pay more for products due to the establishment of recycling systems or the search for alternative packaging materials.

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