Rethink Plastic alliance disappointed by yet another delay on the EU restriction of intentionally-added microplastics

Brussels, March 2 2023

For immediate distribution

The Rethink Plastic alliance is disappointed by the postponement of a crucial EU vote meant to be held yesterday on the restriction of intentionally-added microplastics.

With pollution amounting to more than 40,000 tonnes of microparticles yearly, resulting in multiple negative impacts on the environment and with growing evidence highlighting the potential of harm to people’s health, the alliance has made their stance clear: the sooner the adoption of a fully comprehensive restriction on microplastics, without detraction or delay, the better. 

Hélène Duguy, law and policy advisor at ClientEarth, said: “Microplastics are wreaking havoc on our environment and this restriction has already been years in the making. We hope this latest delay just means that Member States are making the final tweaks to ensure that the restriction is up to the task. We’re looking forward to seeing a solid restriction adopted at the next meeting.” 

Dolores Romano, Senior Policy Officer for Chemicals at the European Environmental Bureau, added: 

“This restriction is key to tackling the severe environmental damage caused by microplastics. But the proposal weakens the effectiveness of the ban because of the time it would take to implement the restriction in case of certain uses, and also because of the soluble and biodegradable polymers exemptions. We call on Member States to vote for the elimination of these tiny plastics  without delay and prevent unnecessary microplastics pollution.

Lucie Padovani, Marine Litter Lobbying Officer at Surfrider Europe said: “Care brands such as Weleda, Naif and others have recently written to the REACH Committee to support a restriction of intentionally-added microplastics. They’re calling for the restriction to come into force as soon as possible. The restriction of intentionally added microplastics is highly awaited – not only by NGOs, civil society and consumers but also by part of the industry. We sincerely hope that this call for action will be taken into account shortly enough, as every further delay implies increasing impacts on the environment.”

The alliance urges EU Member States to conduct a vote as soon as possible and support a restriction by supporting a restriction that includes all microplastics including nanoplastics and all non-essential uses in its final scope.

For more information contact:  Niamh Cullen, Rethink Plastic alliance Communications Coordinator
+32 497 83 23 24  Email: [email protected] 

Plastic Soup Foundation, Rethink Plastic alliance and 20 cosmetic brands express crucial necessity for complete ban for intentionally added microplastics, as EU vote is upcoming

23 February 2023

The Rethink Plastic alliance, together with the Plastic Soup Foundation and 20 cosmetic brands welcome an expected vote on the European Commission’s proposal on the restriction of intentionally added microplastics, and are calling for them to be banned completely in beauty products

The continuous use of microplastics, including liquid plastics, causes negative and irreversible damage to our ecosystems and may pose a risk to human health. Recent studies found that 9 out of 10 care products still include microplastics. In Europe alone, 7kg of plastics from cosmetics are flushed into the environment every minute. Microplastics have been found in the human blood, lungs and even the placenta.

Nataliya Yarmolenko, Chief Commercial Officer at Weleda says: “Together with fellow microplastics-free brands we urge the European Commission to implement decisive, consistent, and rapid introduction of microplastic-free legislation as a matter of urgency. We feel there is no justification for the exceptionally long 12-year transition period when certified natural cosmetics brands such as Weleda show that working without using microplastics at all has always been possible. We know that consumers share our passion for genuine sustainability, with 90% of shoppers believing ethics-related considerations are important when buying beauty products. The Beauty industry and others needs to prioritize alternatives to microplastics, so that we can move forward as an innovative, collective, planet friendly beauty industry.”

Madhuri Prabhakar, Microplastics Campaigner at Plastic Soup Foundation: “We all deserve to live in an environment free of microplastics, whether on our beaches, in the air we breathe or in our products – especially when microplastics are not necessary. Brands like Naïf, Weleda, Neals Yard, Laboratoire Léa Nature and Beauty Kitchen, who have signed this letter, are sending a clear message to EU Member States: alternatives to microplastics already exist. It is high time the rest of the cosmetics industry embrace those alternatives. There is no reason to delay the EU restriction any further or allow for excessively long transition periods.”

Lucie Padovani, Marine Litter Lobbying Officer at Surfrider Europe said

“As NGOs, it is inspiring to see that renowned brands are demonstrating that not only being microplastic free has been feasible for years, but that it is also a sustainable option – for the environment, for consumers, and for their own viability. We call on European decision-makers to hear their voice and to adopt an ambitious restriction commensurate to the urgency of the plastics crisis”

For more information contact: 

Niamh Cullen, Rethink Plastic alliance communications coordinator +32 497 83 23 24 

Email: [email protected] 

Rethink Plastic alliance applauds historical European Parliament vote passing a full ban on plastic EU waste exports and full implementation of the Basel Convention

Today, the European Parliament voted on the report tabled by MEP Weiss on the Regulation for the shipment of waste. The Rethink Plastic alliance and the Break Free From Plastic movement applaud  the outcome.

“Great joy, the European Parliament’s decision today supporting a phased-in extra-EU/EFTA plastic waste export ban is welcomed. Many of us across the world have worked tirelessly to highlight the unparalleled body of evidence and real-world experiences that demonstrate that the plastic waste trade is harmful and exploitative. Another important step to ending waste colonialism.” – Lauren Weir, Senior Ocean Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency   

“The European Parliament has shown today that it takes protecting member states from illicit waste shipment seriously. We are happy to see this strong stance on intra EU shipments of plastic waste that seeks to finally make the EU compliant with international rules set by the Basel Convention. Now the member states have to honour this ambition.” – Theresa Morsen, Waste Policy Officer at Zero Waste Europe 

“European waste export has not gone without great costs to the environment and human health. Today, the EU Parliament has paved the way for a more responsible, more transparent and better enforced waste export policy. The groundwork is now laid for EU countries to restrict a kick-the-can-down-the-road approach in the global waste management system, prioritise waste prevention and seize the opportunity for EU to preserve precious secondary raw materials.”

Stephane Arditi – Director for Climate, Circular Economy and Industry at the European Environmental Bureau

For more information about waste trade and the revision of the Waste Shipment Regulation: : 

Rethink Plastic alliance Press Release 16 January 2023: NGOs advocate for full ban on plastic waste exports from the EU as new report finds receiving countries’ recycling capacities overburdened



Niamh Cullen, Communications Coordinator at the Rethink Plastic alliance [email protected] +32 497 83 23 24 

Lauren Weir, Senior Ocean Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency

[email protected]

Theresa Mörsen, Waste Policy Officer at Zero Waste Europe [email protected] 

For further information: 

NO TIME TO WASTE: NGOs advocate for full ban on plastic waste exports from the EU as new report finds receiving countries’ recycling capacities overburdened

Brussels – 16 January 2023

NGOs are calling for the European Parliament to vote for a full ban on extra-EU/ European
Free Trade Association (EFTA) plastic waste exports and the full transposition of the Basel Convention plastic waste amendments within the EU.

In addition to the environmental and human health harm brought about by the plastic waste
trade and the presence of illegal waste shipments facilitated by legal channels, recycling capacity displacement is another important facet factor highlighting why both such measures are necessary within the latest revision of the Waste Shipment Regulation.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Rethink Plastic alliance (RPa) new
report “Plastic Waste Power Play: The offshoring and recycling displacement
involved in trying to recycle EU plastic waste
” shows that EU plastic waste exports are
taking up limited plastic waste recycling capacity in recipient countries.

The vast majority of plastic has never been recycled, and the exporting of plastic waste from
high-income, high plastic consuming countries also helps perpetuate the linear status quo,
rather than prioritising the reduction of plastic consumption.

The European Parliament is set to vote on the Waste Shipment Regulation this week. The
Rethink Plastic Alliance and Break Free From Plastic movement therefore recommend that
the European Parliament Plenary supports the outcomes of the ENVI Committee vote,
including voting in favour of a full ban on plastic waste exports outside of the EU and EFTA,
in addition to a full implementation of the Basel Convention within the EU.

Major exporters of EU plastic waste such as Germany, the Netherlands, France, and
Belgium are not only prolific consumers of plastic, but also take advantage of the possibility
to export plastic waste in order to try and achieve their recycling targets.
However, the report highlights how this results in the recycling capacity of recipient
countries being inundated overwhelmed and the possibility of recycling their own
domestically- generated plastic waste is thus jeopardised,- resulting in recycling capacity

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, such as
Turkey, non-OECD countries, such as Malaysia, and certain EU Member States are
recipients of EU plastic waste and not only bear the brunt of significant environmental and
human health harm resulting from these shipments.

For example, in 2021, 35 per cent of the 1,135 million kilos of EU plastic waste exported went to Turkey alone. Imported plastic waste made up 78.7 per cent of Turkey’s recycling output volume, with 58 per cent of those imports coming from the EU. Simply put, without having to recycle the plastic waste of high-income countries, these countries would also have greater capacity to recycle domestically generated plastic waste.

“These findings seek to demonstrate yet another harmful outcome from this plastic waste
trade. When EU plastic waste is actually recycled within recipient countries, they displace
recycling capacity for domestically generated plastic waste and they facilitate the
continuation of high-levels of EU plastic consumption,”
said Lauren Weir, Senior Ocean
Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency.

The report also highlights that the exploitative power dynamics occurring globally within the
plastic waste trade occur internally within the Union as well and this is why adequate intra-
EU safeguarding policies – including the full transposition of the Basel Convention within the
Union – are crucial. RPa is very concerned by attempts to remove these vital measures,
which must be retained to ensure that the Basel Convention is correctly and legally applied
within the EU.


For more information contact:
Niamh Cullen, Communications Coordinator at the Rethink Plastic alliance
[email protected] +32 497 83 23 24

Lauren Weir, Senior Ocean Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency
[email protected] +44 20 7354 7984

Theresa Mörsen, Waste Policy Officer at Zero Waste Europe
[email protected]

European Parliament’s ENVI Committee Breaks Free from the harmful Plastic Waste Trade in full extra-EU ban

Brussels  – 1 December 2022 

In a landmark decision, the European Parliament Environment (ENVI) Committee voted today in favour of a ban on EU plastic waste exports and stronger safeguarding measures for intra-EU plastic waste shipments.

The Break Free From Plastic movement and Rethink Plastic alliance have strongly advocated for the EU to end the export of plastic waste outside the Union and EFTA, to both OECD (e.g. Turkey) and non-OECD (e.g. Malaysia) countries. This is due to the unparalleled body of evidence and real-world experiences that demonstrate that this trade causes environmental and human health harm in recipient countries.In 2021, EU plastic waste exports to all countries amounted to 1,135 million kilos, with 43% of said exports going to non-OECD countries and 35% going to Turkey. Certain EU Member States have even been increasing their plastic waste exports to non-OECD countries and Turkey in 2022

The ENVI Committee’s decision to support a ban on plastic waste exports is a landmark moment in EU policy making. The export of plastic waste from high-income countries, like EU Member States, is unethical and exploitative. That this has been recognised is a great step forward, it is now imperative that the European Parliament Plenary and Council follow suit.” said Lauren Weir, Senior Ocean Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency. 

Theresa Mörsen, Waste Policy Officer at Zero Waste Europe said: “A ban puts the onus of treating waste on the EU Member States and paves the way for more effective management of waste as well as encouraging plastic use reduction via reuse and prevention instead of offshoring this toxic burden.” 

The vote is also welcomed by members of the Break Free From Plastic movement in receiving countries of EU plastic waste.

“This vote will protect communities who have had to bear with pollution from plastic waste exported by rich industrialised countries for decades, especially in Asia. Mismanaged foreign plastic waste has contaminated our lands, food, water, and air with microplastics and toxics. People living around these sites helplessly watch their family members fall sick – across generations. This is an urgent matter of environmental injustice. Europe should account for the real cost of its plastic waste,” said Pui Yi Wong, Waste Trade Project Coordinator at Break Free From Plastic Asia Pacific.

As thoroughly evidenced by Rethink Plastic alliance members, the ban would address issues recipient countries face as a result of plastic waste imports, in addition to the fact that plastic waste exports are a pathway thoroughly exploited by waste criminals and drive domestic recycling capacity displacement in recipient countries. However, it is not just destination countries outside of the EU that fall victim to the negative impacts of this trade. Many EU Member States are also suffering, in part as a consequence of a growing number of countries closing their borders to EU plastic waste. Hence the Waste Shipment Regulation must outline adequate safeguarding policies to protect all EU Member States. 

One such essential measure the EU can put in place for intra-EU shipments of plastic waste is the full transposition of the Basel Convention, namely the requirement of Prior Informed Consent from a receiving country for a plastic waste shipment that is mixed, contaminated and not destined for recycling – given it is more vulnerable to mismanagement and illegality. Fortunately, today, the ENVI committee decided to put an end to the damaging exception to this Basel Convention requirement the EU currently has in place.

With the first Global Plastics Treaty negotiations currently underway in Uruguay, the next two years will be crucial in framing a global, legally binding agreement to solve the problem of plastic pollution. One of the key solutions is to reduce plastic production in addition to redesigning materials, products and systems, which would also prevent plastic waste generation. The ENVI Committee’s vote today shows that the EU is on its way to acknowledging how plastic waste exports act as a loophole, also enabling the continued high levels of EU plastic production and consumption.  

The European Parliament plenary will vote on the Waste Shipment Regulation in January, with the Council to also set its position early next year.



Niamh Cullen, Communications Coordinator at the Rethink Plastic alliance [email protected], +32 497 83 23 24 

Lauren Weir, Senior Ocean Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency

[email protected]

Theresa Mörsen, Waste Policy Officer at Zero Waste Europe [email protected] 

For further information: 

The Truth behind Trash – Environmental Investigation Agency 

The Health Impacts of Plastic Recycling in Turkey – Human Rights Watch 

The Plastic Waste Trade ManifestoBreak Free From Plastic

Indonesia Waste Trade Update 2022: Focusing on Plastic and Paper Waste in Indonesia – Nexus3 Foundation  

Malaysia is Not a “Garbage Dump” – Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism

Discarded: Communities on the Frontlines of the Global Plastic Crisis – Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives

Strong aim, but more ambitious and timely action needed – Rethink Plastic alliance welcomes EU circular economy package

November 30, 2022 

The Rethink Plastic alliance welcomes the European Commission’s circular economy package, with proposed reuse targets and strengthened measures for plastics, packaging and waste.

The European Commission has published today its second Circular Economy Package, including initiatives on packaging and biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics [1]. The publication of a proposal for a Regulation on Green Claims, expected since 2020 and to be part of today’s package, has been postponed again to early 2023. 

Provided they are followed through with appropriate ambition, the proposal and communication released today could go a long way in reducing packaging consumption and pollution by addressing unnecessary packaging, scaling up reuse systems, and preventing regrettable material substitution. Yet, the alliance regrets that the proposal on green claims was postponed, as it is urgent to end unfounded sustainability claims from companies. 

The alliance welcomes the unprecedented focus on prevention and reuse in the proposed EU Packaging and packaging waste regulation (PPWR), which sets the conditions for packaging to be allowed on the EU market. The proposal notably sees new reuse targets by 2030 and 2040 for different sectors, including the beverage sector (soft and alcoholic beverages), the take-away sector and e-commerce. The alliance regrets however that the initial ambition on reuse targets  was watered down under industry pressure, with major beverage companies still coming out as top plastic polluters globally.

Larissa Copello, Consumption and Production Campaigner at Zero Waste Europe: ‘The proposal lays down crucial packaging and packaging waste reduction and reuse measures, but falls short of its objective to achieve 100% reusable or recycling packaging by 2030. Large-scale implementation of reuse packaging systems across Europe requires more ambition, and targets should be higher and broadened to other market sectors to ensure true circularity, driving investments in the right direction.’

The alliance also welcomes that the European Commission is taking action on biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics, which are too often wrongly presented as a solution to the plastic pollution crisis. The proposed EU policy framework on biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics aims at providing a harmonised EU approach with regard to these materials through providing recommendations on the sourcing, labelling and use of bio-based plastics, as well as on the use of biodegradable and compostable plastics. 

The communication, which is not legally binding, notes the importance of respecting the waste hierarchy and that priority should be given to material use reduction and circularity.It notably makes it explicit that no claims should be made on the biodegradation of litter-prone products, including products covered by the Single-Use Plastics Directive. However, it does not set a clear path of regulatory action to ensure that the principles are followed. The alliance regrets some inconsistency of the PPWR with the welcomed careful approach taken in the policy framework as far as biodegradability and compostability of packaging are concerned.  

Gaëlle Haut, EU affairs coordinator at Surfrider Europe, said:

“The Commission’s communication brings clarity on the challenges and uncertainties posed by bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics and their use. Further action on biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics is needed though to reflect the urgency to transition to a zero pollution, climate-resilient and circular economy – and should take the form of legal measures and robust safeguards to address both their single-use nature and our reliance on toxic plastics .” 

Ioana Popescu, Head of Circular Economy at the Environmental Coalition on Standards said: “For bio-based plastics, the message is clear: preference should always be given to longlasting, reusable products because their potential sustainability credentials are directly reversed when these are used in short lived applications such as single-use packaging.  ” 

The proposed Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation will be discussed and amended in  the European Parliament and the Council (i.e. Member States) from early 2023, with negotiations expected to conclude late 2023 – early 2024.  


Notes to editors

[1] Communication of he Commission on biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics available here

Proposal for Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation available here

Commission Press release: European Green Deal: Putting an end to wasteful packaging, boosting reuse and recycling available here

Reaction of the Environmental Coalition on Standards available here

Reaction of European Environmental Bureau available here

Media contact 

Niamh Cullen, Communications Coordinator at the Rethink Plastic alliance [email protected], +32 497 83 23 24 

Expert Contacts


Larissa Copello, Consumption and Production Campaigner at Zero Waste Europe

[email protected] 

Jean-Pierre Schweitzer, Deputy Policy Manager for Circular Economy European Environmental Bureau

[email protected]

For biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics 

Ioana Popescu, Head of Circular Economy at the Environmental Coalition on Standards

[email protected]  

Gaëlle Haut, EU Affairs Coordinator at Surfrider Foundation Europe

[email protected] 

For further information: 

Realising Reuse report – Rethink Plastic alliance

A Just Transition to Reuse – Rethink Plastic alliance,

Too Good To be True? Green Claims report – Environmental Coalition on Standards

Fifty shades of Ocean (plastic) washing briefing – Surfrider Foundation Europe, Rethink Plastic alliance
What the EU can do to reduce single use packaging and plastic pollution in food services? policy briefing – Surfrider Foundation Europe, Rethink Plastic alliance

EU Commission to drop chemicals law reform as a gift to polluters

The 2023 work programme, finalised in a meeting of heads of cabinets last Friday evening and set to be adopted in the College of Commissioners tomorrow, is set to delay by a year the start of REACH reforms from the last quarter of 2022 to the last quarter of 2023. But this delay is far more significant than ‘just one year’: with European Parliament elections set for May 2024, the delay is effectively “game over” for REACH reform in this legislature and under this Commission, said the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), which has seen the leaked programme. No complex reform has ever been completed in such a short period of time. Therefore, Ursula von der Leyen Commission is effectively killing the reform in response to German chemical industry pressure, EEB said.

The Commission had announced it would strengthen and speed up what are painfully slow chemical controls, saying that its most important law, REACH, is “too slow to sufficiently protect consumers and professional users against risks from the most hazardous substances”. As the EEB has shown, it often takes EU and national officials over a decade to identify hazardous chemicals and then another decade to restrict their use. Chemical pollution is “a threat to human health” and “one of the key drivers putting the Earth at risk”, the Commission acknowledged. 

The cabinet heads also completely changed the purpose of the reform goals: strengthened health and environmental protections, faster decision-making and improved legal compliance and support for industry transition towards safer and sustainable chemicals. They deleted them and replaced them entirely with industry-friendly goals of “securing European competitive advantages” and “reducing burden,” the leaked document shows. The change would legally overturn their earlier announcement.

MEP Maria Arena, member of the European Parliament Intergroup on Cancer, said:

“The European Commission’s proposal to push back the much-needed REACH revision to the end of 2023 is unacceptable. The Commission is denying this European Parliament the possibility to have a balanced and democratic debate on this reform. In truth, the Commission is putting the final nail in the REACH reform’s coffin under their mandate. Even more worrisome is the deletion of the strengthening of the protection of health and the environment as the overarching goal of the reform only to be replaced by talks of competitiveness and reduction of administrative burden. It is clear that the chemical lobbies have won and that the profits of the chemical industry are more important for the Commission than the protection of European citizens from hazardous chemicals. If the Commission goes forward with delaying the REACH reform, the European Green Deal will be remembered as the European Toxic Deal!”

Tatiana Santos, EEB head of chemicals policy said:

“This is a screeching u-turn away from excellent plans for greater environmental and health protections and towards the interests of industrial polluters. It is a shocking betrayal of the Green Deal. They are doing this in the name of helping firms through the energy crisis, but that is just a smokescreen. The sector made excellent profits in the last decade and has generous reserves, while on the other hand, the reforms will take many years to come into force with no short-term impacts on them. If approved tomorrow, that is game over for REACH reform in this legislature and a major blow to the EU Green Deal. We seem set for many more years of rising chemical pollution and the diseases that go with it. We hope the Commission will change its mind and decide not to undermine its own legacy in building a better, brighter future for people and the environment which von der Leyen really placed at the top of her political agenda with the EGD.”

Patrick ten Brink, EEB’s Secretary General said:

“Civil society welcomed the promise of the European Green Deal and have been engaging to make it the transformative agenda we need, but if the promised REACH revision and legal requirements for access and availability of safety data are pushed back and the REACH revisions fundamentally weakened, as the leak suggests, it undermines our and citizen’s confidence that the EGD will provide the answers youth and future generations need. This risks undermining trust in this Commission and the European Project.”

Consumers are widely exposed to chemicals used in a wide range of products, from toys and childcare products to food containers, cosmetics, furniture and textiles, the Commission acknowledges. Scientists have been warning for some time that toxic pollution has crossed the ‘planetary boundary, threatening the entire Earth operating system, along with humanity’. They have also found ‘Forever chemicals’ in all umbilical cords in nearly 30,000 samples analysed as well as microplastics in human breast milk. Polling from late 2019 found that almost all Europeans are worried about the impact of chemicals in everyday products on the environment, a high level of public concern that echoes similar polls throughout the 2010s.

In early October, ministers from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Norway called for a timely revision of REACH from the Commission. MEPs have made similar calls.



EEB Head of Chemicals Policy Tatiana Santos (ES / EN / FR) [email protected] +32 488 918 597 / +32 2 289 1094

EEB Communications Officer for Chemicals Andreea Anca (EN, RO, HU) +32 493 732 105
EEB communications consultant Jack Hunter (EN) [email protected] +33 751 051 805

Parliamentary Assistant to Maria Arena, Basile Ghesquiere (EN, FR) [email protected] +33688632346

Rethink Plastic alliance “incredibly disappointed” with European Parliament vote on EU Taxonomy

The Rethink Plastic alliance is incredibly disappointed with today’s vote results on the EU Taxonomy in the European Parliament. Labeling investments in gas as green and sustainable seriously threatens a realistic achievement of the EU’s climate goals, encourages dependency on fossil fuels and incentivises the continued build out of the petrochemical industry. Without significant and meaningful efforts to curb the use of fossil fuels, we face a future where investments in plastic production, and therefore plastic pollution, will increase.   

Here are just some of the statements from our Rethink Plastic alliance members, part of the Break Free From Plastic movement, so far: 

Client Earth – “Branding fossil gas as transitional and green in the Taxonomy is unlawful as it clashes with the EU’s key climate legislation, including the European Climate Law and the Taxonomy regulation itself. ClientEarth, alongside other organisations, will now be looking at options to challenge the inclusion of fossil gas in the Taxonomy in court – greenwashing cannot win.” 

Read ClientEarth’s full statement here

European Environmental Bureau – “Billions now risk being diverted into polluting energy sources, at the expense of energy efficiency and renewables. This decision is a serious blow to the transparency & governance of the whole process, putting at risk the further development of the EU green finance framework.”
Read EEB’s full statement here

Environmental Coalition on Standards – ” The European Parliament has just rubber-stamped the European Commission’s plans to label fossil gas & nuclear power as ‘green investments’. This is state-sponsored greenwashing, from those who aspire to be climate leaders.”
Read ECOS’ full statement here.

Bellona Europa – “Every euro spent on unabated fossil gas under the guise of sustainability could have been spent on renewables. The European Commission should be taken to court and we will support every effort to do so.”
Read Bellona’s full statement here.

Greenpeace – “The EU Commission’s shameful backroom dealing on behalf of the fossil fuel and nuclear industries won’t help them. We’re inspired by the climate activists here in Strasbourg this week and are confident that the courts will strike down this politically motivated greenwashing as clearly in breach of EU law.”

Read Greenpeace’s full statement here

EU one step closer to making sustainable products the norm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Brussels, 30 March 2022

The Rethink Plastic alliance welcomes the European Commission’s proposal on the Sustainable Products Initiative (SPI), an important step forward in ensuring all products placed on the EU market are designed for sustainability, including durability and non-toxicity. Yet, as often, the devil will be in the details, and the success of the SPI will only be demonstrated if the EU’s material footprint is reduced, circular business models are mainstreamed, and presence of chemicals in products is minimised, warns the alliance.

The initiative includes a new Regulation on Ecodesign which introduces minimum requirements for products to be traded on the European market. It therefore has the potential to ensure the most wasteful, toxic products are pushed off the market. The proposed Regulation also foresees the creation of an EU Digital Product Passport to provide comprehensive information on product composition along the value chain. This can offer sustainability relevant information on products and their components such as reusability and recyclability, availability of repair services or parts, and presence of harmful chemicals. 

Addressing sustainability as early as possible at the design stage is critical to reducing resource use, pollution and waste and minimising products’ impact on health and the environment throughout their lifecycle

Ioana Popescu, Senior Programme Manager at ECOS, for the Rethink Plastic alliance: “Today, the European Commission is taking a leap towards a true circular economy, finally addressing negative environmental impacts embedded in product design. This initiative has real potential to make all products placed on the EU market repairable, durable, reusable, energy-efficient and free of hazardous chemicals. However, the success of the initiative will depend on how ambitious future product requirements are, as well as on how swiftly they are adopted.”

Elise Vitali, Chemicals Policy Officer at the European Environmental Bureau commented “The SPI is a good step forward for toxic-free products as it recognises that chemical safety is inherent to sustainability. Yet, the new Ecodesign Regulation will need to show teeth to effectively regulate harmful substances on the basis of sustainability, and synergies still need to be created with the EU chemical legislation, regulating chemicals based on safety.”

“The Digital Product Passport will be key to improve the traceability of substances of concern in products,” she added. “The next step should be to have transparency on all chemicals in products by 2030, as called for by NGOs.”

The Commission’s proposal will be discussed and amended by the European Parliament and EU countries in the coming months. The alliance recommends to further increase the ambition of the text and remove potential loopholes from the text, including the possibility for legally binding (delegated) acts to be replaced with industry self-regulation.


Niamh Cullen, Communications Officer, Rethink Plastic alliance, [email protected], +32 497832324

Sabela Gonzalez Garcia, Campaigns and Communications Manager, ECOS, [email protected]

Andreea Anca, Communications Officer, EEB, [email protected]