New EU rules proposed on single-use plastics to reduce marine litter

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In Belgium, the European Commission is proposing new EU-wide rules to target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear. Together these constitute 70% of all marine litter items.

The Commission’s proposals will now go to the European Parliament and Council for adoption. The Commission urges the other institutions to treat this as a priority file, and to deliver tangible results for Europeans before the elections in May 2019.

The new rules are proportionate and tailored to get the best results. This means different measures will be applied to different products. Where alternatives are readily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market. For products without straight-forward alternatives, the focus is on limiting their use through a national reduction in consumption; design and labelling requirements and waste management/clean-up obligations for producers. Together, the new rules will put Europe ahead of the curve on an issue with global implications.