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European Commission Plan to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics

The accent is put on Waste Prevention of plastic packaging waste.

An urgent plan to clean up plastic pollution and waste has been approved by the European Parliament, representing a strong stand against plastic pollution to protect people and the environment.

A wide range of measures have been adopted, banning single-use plastic items by 2021 such as cotton buds, straws, plates and cutlery (exempted until 2023), beverage stirrers, balloon sticks, oxo-degradable plastics and expanded polystyrene food containers and cups.

So, what include adopted measures?:

  • A EU-wide ban of single-use plastic cotton buds, straws, plates and cutlery (with exemptions until 2023),
    beverage stirrers, balloon sticks, oxo-degradable plastics and expanded polystyrene food containers and cups
  • ​An obligation for EU countries to adopt measures to achieve a 25% reduction of the consumption
    of food containers and cups for beverages.
  • An obligation for EU countries to reduce post-consumption waste from tobacco product filters containing
    plastic by 50 % by 2025 and 80 % by 2030.
  • Extended Producer Responsibilty (EPR) schemes that include the cost of clean up and awareness raising
  • Harmonised standards and an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for fishing gear,
    as well as a 50% collection target and a 15% recycling target for fishing gear by 2025
  • An obligation to separately collect 90% of beverage containers and ensure they are produced from 35%
    recycled content by 2025
  • An obligation to prevent the use of hazardous chemicals in the composition of sanitary items
  • An obligation to label products to inform consumers about the presence of chemicals of concern
    in certain single-use plastic products

The accent is put on waste prevention of plastic packaging waste, as this seems to be the most effective way to reduce plastic on a long-term scale, and encourage the reuse of our resources and reduction of our plastic waste.

As a matter of fact, 32% of all plastic waste finishes its life in our oceans and our environment while 40% ends up in landfills, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Only 2% of all the plastic produced is recycled and reused.

Justine Maillot, EU Affairs Project Officer at Surfrider Foundation Europe on behalf of Rethink Plastic: “Citizens across Europe want to see an end to plastic pollution. It’s now up to national governments to keep the ambition high, and resist corporate pressure to continue a throwaway culture.”

The vice-president of the Commission, Frans Timmermans, said to the press that ‘‘Brussels’priority was to clamp down on “single-use plastics that take five seconds to produce, you use it for five minutes and it takes 500 years to break down again”.

If nothing is done and if we keep going like this, Ellen MacArthur’s New Plastics Economy states that there will be more plastic waste in the ocean than fish in less than 50 years.

By doing so, the EU takes the lead in tackling the plastic pollution crisis and the international efforts to clean the oceans and move towards a circular economy.

Our future depends on today’s initiatives and political actions of all parties. Packaging design must evolve towards circular solutions where plastic isn’t waste anymore and this resource is kept in a closed loop, without compromising food hygiene and safety, with risk-free solutions for the consumer.

A lot of solutions already exist and citizens are becoming more aware of that plastic emergency. Ellen MacArthur’s New Plastics Economy recently launched this Global Commitment.

Miwa has committed to eliminate plastic waste alongside more than 250 other organisations, including big players like Nestlé or Danone.

The new circular economy is rising and MIWA is a part of the solution. We want to offer new comfortable and simple ways to shop; we want to inspire people to adopt responsible habits in order to implement the idea of pre-cycling.


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