Strategy on plastics in a circular economy (communication) - Related Opinions
The EESC believes that the current framework for international ocean governance is unable to ensure the sustainable management of oceans and their resources, and urgent action is imperative. However, the Commission and the High Representative still need to prioritise the threats currently faced by our oceans in order to adequately reflect the urgent need for action. One of the causes of ineffective international ocean governance is the existence of gaps in the current international ocean governance framework. The EESC recommends that the Commission and High Representative address these gaps and inconsistencies, but also that they increase compliance with existing rules, for example by improving the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The EU should refrain from proposing any new legislation when better or more coordinated implementation of existing rules and regulations would be more efficient.
The EESC fully backs the objective of switching to a greener, resource-efficient and circular economy. It is happy to see that the Commission has come forward with a broader set of proposals covering all the stages of the product lifecycle compared to the previous circular economy package; however, it raises concern over the lower level of ambition, which is likely to lead to lower economic and environmental benefits.
The European packaging sector comprises five main sub-sectors. "Paper and board" (including paper bags and cartons) is the largest consumer packaging category with a~34% share of the total packaging market. "Rigid plastics" (tubs, pots and jars etc.) is the second-largest packaging category with a ~27% share and is one of the faster‑growing categories, forecast to grow above real GDP (~4% per year) until 2015.
Plastic waste in the environment is a grave global problem. When it comes to marine pollution, plastic waste accounts for a large majority of visible and invisible pollutants. It is vital to improve the accuracy of analyses of waste streams that contain plastics, including analysis of how this waste enters the marine environment. The Green Paper on a European plastic waste strategy provides a breadth of statistics and references [...] In line with the waste hierarchy, efforts should be made to ensure that less plastic waste is generated in the first place. Some uses of plastics could be restricted if there are more environmentally friendly alternatives.