*Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Spain and Sweden
Dear Environment Ministers, we want to get rid of single-use plastics. Our oceans are not a landfill!
We’re producing more and more throwaway plastic, much of which we don’t really need. Recycling schemes are failing to keep up.
Plastic pollution is quickly transforming our seas into the biggest waste dump in the world.
Plastic remains in the environment for hundreds of years and can kill ocean wildlife and enter the food chain.
In the Mediterranean Sea, plastic debris have been found inside fish, birds, turtles and sperm whales’ stomachs. Help stop this.
We are calling on key environment ministers to lead the fight against plastic pollution. This means taking urgent measures to eliminate single-use plastic waste at its source. We don’t have much time. The moment to turn the tide is now!
Plastic waste is invading our environment, both at land and at sea. Scientists have estimated that, globally between 4.7- 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up our oceans every year, causing harm to marine life and leaving a toxic trail of plastic pollution that is also entering the food chain as plastic accumulates and breaks down into smaller fragments in the water and on the seabed.
All European waters have been found to contain plastic marine litter, including along the coasts, the continental shelf, and deep-sea waters .
Europe plays a key role within the global plastic industry. It is the second largest producer of plastic globally (around 50 million tonnes are produced every year). In the EU, packaging is the most common use of plastic, making up almost 40% of plastics demand. However, a lot of the plastic produced is used to make single-use products, which quickly lose their value through incineration, landfilling, or when they become marine litter.
Only 29.7% of post-consumer plastic waste which entered the waste stream was recycled in the EU in 2014. The rest was either landfilled or incinerated. In 2012, the EU-27 countries exported half of the plastics collected for recycling, equivalent to 3.4 million tonnes of plastic with an estimated value of EUR 1.7 billion (87% of which went to China).
Despite having demonstrated leadership on other environmental issues, the EU has clearly not taken sufficient action to solve plastic pollution and keep valuable resources in the economy.
The revision of the EU Waste Directives (Circular Economy package) during this first semester of 2017 gives the European Union the opportunity to take urgent measures to reduce single-use plastic at its source and position itself as a leader in the fight against plastic pollution. Therefore, I am calling on you to act to ensure meaningful measures for single use plastic waste elimination and reduction at source are embodied in EU law and to support the following key measures in the EU Council deliberations: