Dear President-elect von der Leyen

Rethink Plastic alliance and friends, wrote a welcome letter to von der Leyen for her first month in office, asking the Commission to prioritise tackling plastic pollution at source.

Dear President-elect von der Leyen, 


The EU is now a global leader in the fight against plastic pollution and adopting the Directive on Single-use Plastics was pioneering. As President-elect of the European Commission, you have the unique opportunity to scale-up this leadership, and we are ready to support you in doing that. 


The Rethink Plastic alliance in Brussels and the global Break Free From Plastic movement are calling on the European Commission to prioritise tackling plastic pollution at source. This means addressing the exponential increase in both the production and use of plastic, eliminating major sources of plastic pollution and preventing hazardous chemicals from entering the material cycle. 


Plastic production is one of the largest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions – nearly all plastics come from fossil fuels, and greenhouse gases are emitted at each stage of the plastic lifecycle. You highlighted that “all of us and every sector will have to contribute” to address the climate crisis, this should include reducing plastic production and consumption. This is  what EU citizens are asking for.


We, as civil society organisations, call on you to:

  1. Prioritise reducing the overall production and use of plastics in the EU through the Green Deal, and in the Commission Work Programme.
  2. Implement, progress, and address the insufficiencies of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy so that it speeds the transition away from the linear economy, supports local and innovative business models based on prevention, reuse and toxic-free ecodesign, and contributes to the decarbonisation of the EU’s economy.
  3. Define what concrete steps you are going to take, and within what timeline, to reduce microplastic emissions and phase-out hazardous chemicals in plastic products.


Tackling plastic pollution presents the EU with an unprecedented opportunity for innovation, ecodesign (including toxic-free), new business models and delivery systems that can stimulate local employment while protecting public health and the environment, and contributing to the EU’s circular economy and decarbonisation agendas. We would very much appreciate the chance to meet with you, as soon as you are in office, to explain in greater detail the extent of this opportunity, and how we can support you in realising it. 


View the full letter & signatories here



Rethink Plastic