EU Regulation on preventing plastic pellet losses needs mandatory requirements for all operators to reduce microplastic pollution

Plastic pellets, whether derived from virgin material, recycled sources or biomass, constitute the primary building blocks for the majority of plastic products. The European Commission’s Proposal for a Regulation on preventing pellet losses to reduce microplastic pollution represents a necessary step towards addressing plastic pollution and the associated harms to human health and the environment. Plastic pellets, flakes, dust and powders are tiny and hazardous microplastics spilled and lost across the plastic supply chain, contributing to widespread, chronic and avoidable pollution impacting every EU country surveyed1. Effectively preventing pellet loss requires a comprehensive supply chain approach, applying measures to all operators at every stage of the supply chain.

Prevention and reuse – the only solution to record levels of packaging waste

Levels of packaging waste in Europe are at an all-time high. Over the last decade, its growth
outpaced the economy rising faster than the volume of traded goods. The latest Eurostat data
on packaging waste, published in October 2023, reaffirms this upward trajectory with a new
record of 188.7 kg per capita in 2021 – a 6% increase in waste generation in only one year.
The same data also reveals that recycling rates have stagnated since 2010. The packaging
sector is now responsible for approximately 59 million tonnes in CO2eq, more than the annual
emissions of Hungary. Packaging is also a major driver of virgin resources exploitation – using
40% of plastic and 50% of paper in Europe.