Preventing plastic pellet losses to reduce microplastics pollution

EESC opinion: Preventing plastic pellet losses to reduce microplastics pollution

Key points


  • agrees with and essentially supports the Commission's proposal on regulating microplastic pellet operations and emissions and mitigating dangerous pollution in this specific area;
  • points to the urgent need to develop the standardised methodology for tracking and properly estimating microplastic pellet losses along the whole supply chain. This could enable to estimate emissions and monitor progress towards achieving the set target of a 30% reduction by 2030;
  • recommends that the EU should align with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) legislation process. If the IMO does not provide any rules by mid-2026, the Commission should consider provisions to implement for intra-EU maritime transports, as well as laying the groundwork for tackling the secondary microplastics issue of tyres, paints, textiles, geotextiles and detergent capsules;
  • suggests, with regard to environmental and human protection aspects, paying attention in the regulation to the geographical areas – as potential intervention points for mitigating/reducing pollution – that are most exposed to microplastics emissions;
  • stresses the need to increase the frequency of compliance verification and introduce a mid-term revision of the legislation to assess its efficiency and to review and, if necessary, fine-tune the volume limit for pellet operations laid down in the lightened regulatory requirements prescribed for micro and small enterprises;
  • warns that the rapidly growing production of virgin and recycled plastic pellets makes it increasingly difficult to mitigate their impact. Therefore, efforts to implement and enforce compliance with the regulation should be accelerated;
  • notes that there is not a high demand for additional workers, except in green-collar areas, but that awareness and training levels have to be increased across the workforce;
  • points out that the international aspects of the regulation should be taken into consideration to ensure a level playing field in the competitive environment between EU operators that are complying with the regulation and third-country operators;
  • emphasises that science and research activities have to be stepped up, mainly with a view to understanding the harmful effects on human and ecological health of microplastic pellet pollution;
  • suggests to review the Best Available Techniques for economic operators to include pellet losses.