A Plastic Pollution Free EU – Plastics and the EU elections

The EU elections will largely determine what guides EU politics and laws for the next five years. Even though plastic is driving some of the dominating issues of this election, there is a great danger that it will be pushed off the agenda – that’s rubbish! We need decisionmakers who will strive to reduce plastic production, support reuse, eliminate toxic chemicals, and deliver real solutions to the plastic pollution crisis to protect us and future generations.

Plastics’ injustice. A just transition to address an unjust pollution

Plastic proliferation and pollution fuel the triple planetary crisis: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. They impact us all, but not equally; thus they exacerbate injustice. A just transition, commonly described as ensuring that the much needed green transition is happening in a fair and inclusive way and leaves no one behind, can both put an end to plastic pollution, guarantee human rights and bring social benefits.

Plastics And Climate. Carbon bombing through and through

Treating plastic waste is an energy-intensive process, creating 193 Mt CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year. That’s more than the annual emissions of two Belgiums! These emissions are projected to increase despite improvements in waste management. But plastics don’t only create emissions at the end of their life. Plastic is created from oil and gas and 90% of GHG emissions actually occur at the production stage.

Plastics and Nature entwined. How plastic pollution drives biodiversity loss

Did you know that there is even a new disease impacting seabirds ingesting plastic that has been evidenced and named “Plasticosis”? That is how severe plastic impacts on biodiversity are! It is estimated that close to 2800 different marine species, such as turtles, seabirds, fish, marine mammals and coral reefs, are known to interact with plastic debris, often becoming entangled, trapped or suffocated by it.

Health And Safety Not Guaranteed – Exposing plastics’ impact on human health

Communities living near fossil fuel extraction, petrochemical refineries and transport routes and
the workers employed in these facilities, face increased risks of respiratory issues and cancer
from emissions, fires, and flares: just one example of how the detrimental effects of plastic on
human health start long before it is created for human use.

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.