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Single-use plastics and fishing gear: Reducing marine litter

17-06-2019

Most of the plastic in our oceans originates from land-based sources. On European beaches, plastics make up 80-85 % of marine litter, which is considered a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Marine litter also costs the European Union economy an estimated €259 million to €695 million per year. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal seeking to address the issue of marine litter from plastics. The proposal would introduce a series of measures regarding ...

Most of the plastic in our oceans originates from land-based sources. On European beaches, plastics make up 80-85 % of marine litter, which is considered a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity. Marine litter also costs the European Union economy an estimated €259 million to €695 million per year. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal seeking to address the issue of marine litter from plastics. The proposal would introduce a series of measures regarding the top 10 single-use plastics found on European beaches, as well as fishing gear, with a view to reducing their impact on the environment and ensuring a functional internal market. After completion of the legislative procedure, the final act was signed by the presidents of the co-legislators (European Parliament and Council) on 5 June 2019, and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 12 June 2019. Member States have two years (i.e. until 3 July 2021) to transpose the new directive into national law. Fourth edition of a briefing originally drafted by Didier Bourguignon. document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Reducing marine litter from plastics

20-03-2019

In May 2018, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal to tackle marine litter, targeting the top ten single-use plastic items found on European beaches as well as fishing gear, which together make up about 70 % of marine beach litter items in Europe. Interinstitutional negotiations with the Council delivered an agreement in December 2018, on which Parliament is expected to vote during its March II plenary session.

In May 2018, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal to tackle marine litter, targeting the top ten single-use plastic items found on European beaches as well as fishing gear, which together make up about 70 % of marine beach litter items in Europe. Interinstitutional negotiations with the Council delivered an agreement in December 2018, on which Parliament is expected to vote during its March II plenary session.

Marine litter: Single-use plastics and fishing gear

17-10-2018

Marine litter, most of which is plastic, is a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity; it also has significant socio-economic impacts. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal on the top 10 single-use plastics found on European beaches, as well as fishing gear, with a view to reducing their impact on the environment and ensuring a functional internal market. The European Parliament is expected to adopt its position on the proposal during its October II plenary ...

Marine litter, most of which is plastic, is a major threat to marine and coastal biodiversity; it also has significant socio-economic impacts. In May 2018, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal on the top 10 single-use plastics found on European beaches, as well as fishing gear, with a view to reducing their impact on the environment and ensuring a functional internal market. The European Parliament is expected to adopt its position on the proposal during its October II plenary session.

Plastics in a circular economy

05-09-2018

Plastics are widely used across all sectors of the economy. However, the treatment of plastic waste poses several challenges. To address these, the Commission published a strategy for plastics in a circular economy in January 2018. The European Parliament is expected to adopt an own-initiative resolution on the communication during its September 2018 plenary session.

Plastics are widely used across all sectors of the economy. However, the treatment of plastic waste poses several challenges. To address these, the Commission published a strategy for plastics in a circular economy in January 2018. The European Parliament is expected to adopt an own-initiative resolution on the communication during its September 2018 plenary session.

Marine litter: single-use plastics and fishing gear

09-07-2018

The Commission proposal aims to reduce the environmental harm from single-use plastics and fishing gear. The supporting impact assessment (IA) does not discuss the impacts on innovation, research and development or the feasibility for businesses to invest into alternative materials. The IA only briefly touches upon the implications for SMEs and does not explain why the open public consultation ran for 8 weeks instead of the 12 weeks. Finally, the proposal misses certain measures foreseen under the ...

The Commission proposal aims to reduce the environmental harm from single-use plastics and fishing gear. The supporting impact assessment (IA) does not discuss the impacts on innovation, research and development or the feasibility for businesses to invest into alternative materials. The IA only briefly touches upon the implications for SMEs and does not explain why the open public consultation ran for 8 weeks instead of the 12 weeks. Finally, the proposal misses certain measures foreseen under the preferred option and contains measures not foreseen in the IA.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, January 2018

19-01-2018

The January session highlights were the European Council conclusions debate and a presentation of Bulgarian Presidency priorities, as well as the first in a series of debates with EU leaders on the future of Europe, with the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar. Parliament voted, inter alia, on three clean energy package proposals; a review of dual-use items export controls; its opinion on the revised Brussels IIa Regulation; and gave its consent for the conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty.

The January session highlights were the European Council conclusions debate and a presentation of Bulgarian Presidency priorities, as well as the first in a series of debates with EU leaders on the future of Europe, with the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar. Parliament voted, inter alia, on three clean energy package proposals; a review of dual-use items export controls; its opinion on the revised Brussels IIa Regulation; and gave its consent for the conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty.

Plastics in a circular economy: Opportunities and challenges

17-05-2017

Plastics pervade modern life; plastics production has been growing exponentially since the 1960s and is expected to double by 2036. Although there are over 1 000 types of plastic, 90 % of plastics are derived from virgin fossil fuels. In Europe, post-consumer plastic waste is either incinerated with energy recovery (39 %), landfilled (31 %) or recycled (30%). It is estimated that half of the plastic waste recycled is treated in the EU, while the other half is exported for recycling. The production ...

Plastics pervade modern life; plastics production has been growing exponentially since the 1960s and is expected to double by 2036. Although there are over 1 000 types of plastic, 90 % of plastics are derived from virgin fossil fuels. In Europe, post-consumer plastic waste is either incinerated with energy recovery (39 %), landfilled (31 %) or recycled (30%). It is estimated that half of the plastic waste recycled is treated in the EU, while the other half is exported for recycling. The production and consumption of plastics today offer a series of benefits (in particular low production costs, durability and versatility) but also pose a number of problems (in particular loss of material value as a result of single use and low recycling rates, as well as ill-effects on nature, climate and human health). Marine litter and microplastics are a source of particular concern. Several pieces of EU legislation apply to plastics and plastic waste, although implementation is incomplete. In 2015, the Commission identified plastics as one of the priority areas of the circular economy action plan, proposed new reuse and recycling targets for plastic packaging waste and pledged to adopt a strategy on plastics in the circular economy by the end of 2017. A circular economy implies reducing waste to a minimum. Moving the plastics value chain in this direction would mean improving recycling, promoting reuse, and redesigning products, while taking into account the whole life-cycle of products. Although this could deliver opportunities (in particular enhanced security of supply, economic benefits and reduced pressure on the environment) there are also challenges (in particular weak economic incentives, technical issues and finance). The European Parliament recognises the need to introduce specific measures on plastic waste in EU legislation and to value plastics as a resource.

Food contact materials

27-09-2016

Food is considered to be one of the most important sources of human exposure to chemicals. The safety of materials coming into contact with food should therefore be carefully evaluated, as chemicals from these can migrate into food. The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) has drafted an own-initiative report highlighting the problems related to the implementation of the Food Contact Materials Regulation, and this is due to be debated during the ...

Food is considered to be one of the most important sources of human exposure to chemicals. The safety of materials coming into contact with food should therefore be carefully evaluated, as chemicals from these can migrate into food. The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) has drafted an own-initiative report highlighting the problems related to the implementation of the Food Contact Materials Regulation, and this is due to be debated during the October I plenary session.

Curbing the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags

20-04-2015

Europeans use about 99 billion plastic carrier bags every year. Some of these are dropped as litter, ending up in the environment, where plastics accumulate and harm wildlife. An 'early second reading' trilogue agreement was reached on the Commission's proposal in November 2014. Council approved the text in March 2015; the vote in Parliament is scheduled for the April II plenary.

Europeans use about 99 billion plastic carrier bags every year. Some of these are dropped as litter, ending up in the environment, where plastics accumulate and harm wildlife. An 'early second reading' trilogue agreement was reached on the Commission's proposal in November 2014. Council approved the text in March 2015; the vote in Parliament is scheduled for the April II plenary.

Reducing the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags

10-04-2014

Europeans use about 100 billion plastic carrier bags every year. Some of these are dropped as litter, ending up in the environment, where long-lasting plastics accumulate and harm wildlife. Most EU Member States have initiatives to curb the use of plastic bags. A proposed EU Directive aims to encourage and enable action by all Member States to reduce the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags.

Europeans use about 100 billion plastic carrier bags every year. Some of these are dropped as litter, ending up in the environment, where long-lasting plastics accumulate and harm wildlife. Most EU Member States have initiatives to curb the use of plastic bags. A proposed EU Directive aims to encourage and enable action by all Member States to reduce the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags.

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