Fight Single-Use Plastics

Let the European Commission know what you think about Single Use Plastics and Marine Litter

In January 2018 the European Commission published their Strategy on Plastics in the Circular Economy, which sets out goals to reduce plastic use, increase the rate of recycling, and ensure that by 2030 all plastics produced are reusable or recyclable. Read more about it here.

You can have your say and let the European Commission know what you think about Single Use Plastics and Marine Litter through this Public Consultation. Act now since the public consultation will close on the 12 February 2018. To make things easier, refer to the template below to help you fill int the survey.

PUBLIC CONSULTATION SURVEY

Total time to fill in 15min (Section A and B)


The consultation is divided in 3 sections:

  • Section A Personal information (not included in the template below)
  • Section B Questionnaire on Marine Litter and Single Use Plastics
  • Section C Questionnaire on Marine Litter and Fishing Gear (if you are an individual and not an expert on Marine Litter you will only fill in Section A and B)

 

The template below is only there as a guide. Please feel free to change it to your own words and opinions. 


Section B – Questionnaire on Marine Litter and Single Use Plastics 

Other (please specify):

It is of importance to note that marine litter and single-use plastics have significant impacts on biodiversity in general, beyond the limited scope noted above of impacts on “animal welfare” and “ecosystem services”. Biodiverse ecosystems do not just exist for the benefit and exploitation of humans (as comes across in options in this question), but are an essential part of the Earth system and vital for a thriving planet shared between humans and all other life forms. Notably, issues and impacts include:
  •  Disturbing the interaction between the seafloor and the water column, leading to impacts on the seafloor and on habitats
  • The transportation of species on plastic waste (even on small plastic particles) from one place to another, where they can become invasive species and lead to biodiversity loss. There is evidence that pathogens can also be transported on waste, spreading to new areas.
  • Multiple impacts from the ingestion of plastic at every trophic level, including behavioural changes and absorption of chemicals from the plastic into an organism’s body.
Further issues and impacts related to marine litter and single-use plastics include:
  •  Additional stress to organisms and ecosystems that are already struggling with climate change effects, further reducing resilience and ability to adapt
  • Impacts on recreational activities, such as watersports.
Finally, I believe an overarching issue completely missing here is the impact that single-use plastics have, and have had since their existence, on the damaging “disposable” mindset. The continuous presence on the market of these items reinforces the mindset of “take make dispose” and has helped lead to a culture of hyper-consumerism, impacting people and environments worldwide – from resource extraction, to manufacturing and disposal. As Europeans, we consume more than our fair share of the Earth’s resources, far overstepping planetary boundaries. Therefore we welcome any systemic change in mindset which could be triggered by a change from the “disposable” mindset reinforced by single-use plastics.

If “other” please specify

The private sector is very broad and responsibility lies greater with some actors than others. In particular, we highlight that action is needed very much by Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs) to take responsibility for the leakage of the single-use plastics and packaging which they should be collecting and recycling, and furthermore for PROs to reduce this leakage by introducing systems for reuse.

Producers of products hold a particular responsibility to avoid the use of plastic in lightweight, single-use applications that can easily end up in the environment, and to ensure that their products are designed for reuse, repair or recycling at the end of life.

Retailers and brands also have a vital responsibility in tackling plastic pollution both in ensuring a significant and progressive reduction in single-use plastics placed on the market, and in ensuring re-usability and recyclability of products and packaging through eco-design.

if “Other” please specify

• Stirrers
• Lollipop sticks
• Styrofoam / expanded polystyrene
• Other single-use plastic packaging e.g. cosmetics and personal care product packaging, cleaning bottles and containers
• medical waste packaging
• shotgun cartridge.
• tobbaco pouches (not only cigarettes buts)
• Pellets and biobeads
• Plastic mulch used in agriculture
On the point of sanitary towels, we agree that they cause significant pollution, however we stress that any measure to tackle sanitary towels must ensure that no additional financial burden is placed on the consumers, who are mostly women. Paper, cardboard and other non-plastic alternatives exist for many single-use sanitary items, as well as reusable alternatives.

This question will show up if you are an individual and you should answer based on your personal use.

 

If you think other EU measures would be relevant, please specify them:

Marine litter monitoring data clearly demonstrates that maintaining the status quo and voluntary measures will not be effective in reducing plastic pollution. New EU measures will be critical to achieving a reduction in plastic pollution. These should comprise a combination of EU wide measures, in particular new legislation to reduce single-use plastics, as well as enabling Member States to undertake measures at the national level. Such new measures should include:

  • Further amending the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive for other single-use plastic items used as packaging, replicating the achievements of the Directive on light-weight carrier bags for other items.
  • Where single-use plastics are a product or used in products, amending the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive may not be appropriate. Therefore it is likely that the Commission will need to develop a new instrument or instruments at the EU level, that includes reduction targets and associated measures.

Furthermore, the EU needs to act on reducing overall plastics production, beyond reducing pollution and improving waste management. By 2025, plastics production capacity is expected to increase 33%-36% for both ethylene and propylene. If this happens, we could be locked into plastics production for decades, undermining efforts to reduce consumption and reverse the plastic crisis (see attached analysis by the Center for International Environmental Law). An EU wide tax on plastics designed to reduce the production and consumption use of plastics, in parallel with binding macro-economic reduction targets, could be effective.

Finally, cohesion and structural funds, as well as International (development) aid, should be consistent with the policies put in place and measures adopted.

Any new EU measures shall be accompanied by such monitoring, control and enforcement mechanisms.

EU Level

Seizing the opportunity: using plastic only where it makes sense (Zero Waste Europe, 2017) https://zerowasteeurope.eu/downloads/seizing-opportunity-using-plastic-makes-sense/

Single-use plastics and the marine environment: Leverage points for reducing single-use plastics (Seas at Risk, 2017) http://www.seas-at-risk.org/images/pdf/publications/SeasAtRiskSummarysingleUseplasticandthemarineenvironment.compressed.pdf

Bioplastics in a Circular Economy: The need to focus on waste reduction and prevention to avoid false solutions (The European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, Zero Waste Europe, ECOS, Surfrider Foundation Europe, 2017) http://ecostandard.org/wp-content/uploads/Joint-position-paper_Bioplastics-in-a-Circular-Economy_Jan-2017.pdf

Fossils, Plastics, and Petrochemical Feedstocks; How Fracked Gas, Cheap Oil, and Unburnable Coal are Driving the Plastics Boom; Plastic Industry Awareness of the Ocean Plastics Problem (Center for International Environmental Law, 2017)

http://www.ciel.org/reports/fuelingplastics/

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