EU outlines plans to cut plastic waste

Filed under: Recycling — Posted by: Emma on March 13, 2013

A green paper was recently published revealing the EU’s plans for new waste-reducing policies.

The information, which was issued last week by the EU environment commissioner Janez Potocnik, also unveiled the union’s intention to introduce new legislation on disposable carrier bags by the end of April.

Speaking about the issue of plastic waste, Potocnik said:

“Plastic is often perceived as a cheap and disposable material in our ‘throw-away’ society, and recycling rates are low. Half of all plastic waste generated in Europe goes to landfill.”

Potocnik went on to explain that he is working on the introduction of EU legislation that could eventually see national governments either placing a tax charge on single-use plastic shopping bags or banning them altogether.

The EU has been impressed with schemes in Ireland and Wales, where plastic shopping bags come with charges of 22¢ and 5p respectively. Ireland saw a 95% reduction in plastic bag waste after introducing the levy in 2002.

The EU’s plans were supported by British actor Jeremy Irons, who appeared alongside Potocnik at the Berlaymont headquarters of the commission in Belgium. Irons criticised the Government for doing “spectacularly little” when it came to recycling. He also claimed that the failure to put a tax on plastic bags could be seen as a “symbol of waste”.

Irons recently turned filmmaker to produce ‘Trashed’, a documentary focusing on the issue of plastic pollution and emphasising the need for more recycling.

While the EU is working towards legislation to reduce plastic waste, many people choose to source cut to size acrylic to ensure nothing is wasted.

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