More than 80% of the waste found in the sea is plastic, according to the
European Commission. Therefore, last March 27 the European Parliament approved
a package of ambitious measures to reduce marine litter in relation to the ten
plastic single-use products that are most frequently found on beaches, as well
as abandoned fishing gear.
These measures are part of the Plastics
Strategy of the European Union, a strategy that adopts a new approach to
the life cycle of the material, with the aim that all plastics packaging placed on the EU market is
reusable or easily recycled by 2030.
Among the main measures adopted are:
1. The ban on the manufacture of products such as cotton bud sticks,
cutlery, plates, straws; sticks for balloons (although not the balloons
themselves); expanded polystyrene containers for beverages and food for
immediate consumption or to take away.
2. A separate collection goal of 90% for plastic bottles for 2029 (77% for
3. The incorporation of 25% of the recycled plastic in PET bottles from
2025 and 30% in all plastic bottles from 2030.
In addition, it reinforces a principle already assumed in the current
European environmental policy: polluter pays. Thus, an extended responsibility
is introduced for fishing gear manufacturers, who will have to assume the cost
of collecting lost net at sea. Cigarette producers will also have to cover the
costs of the public collection of cigarette butts on the beaches, including the
necessary infrastructure for this, as appropriate receptacles in the waste bins.
The approved measures follow a similar approach to the successful European
plastic bag consumption reduction directive of 2015, which caused a rapid
change in consumer behavior. When these measures are implemented, the European
Commission expects them to bring environmental and economic benefits, such as avoiding damages with an estimated cost of
22 million euros by 2030 and avoiding the emission of 3,4 million tons of