How to reduce the impact of plastic products on the marine environment?

The ocean provides us with everything we need: food, oxygen, inspiration and jobs. It also regulates the climate. Despite its vital importance, between 4.8 and 12 million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year.

Plastic pollution has become an environmental challenge for the marine environment, from seabirds eating plastic particles to microplastics which can be found even in the planet’s most remote locations, like in the Arctic or on the sea floor. The transition to a circular economy is not ensured and the associated economic impact cannot be underestimated.

On 28 May, the European Commission proposed new rules targeting the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on beaches and seas in the EU, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear, constituting together 70 % of all marine litter items. The proposed rules will include a ban of certain products, consumption reduction, collection targets, and obligations for producers.

EURACTIV organised this high-level discussion on how to reduce the impact of plastic products on the environment.

Questions included:
  • What role of extended producer responsibility?
  • Should policymakers increase fees and taxes on polluting plastics to reduce the impact on the environment?
  • How can new regulations be effectively implemented in all member-states?
  • How to achieve more sustainable design?
  • What are good alternative materials from a life cycle perspective?


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