A new report by the Rethink Plastic Alliance, European Environmental Bureau, Zero Waste Europe, Fern and the Environmental Paper Network reveals the environmental harm caused by replacing single-use plastic with single-use paper packaging. The report clearly shows the need to move away from ever-polluting single-use packaging and towards well-designed reuse systems. The NGO coalition calls on the EU to seize the opportunity the Packaging and Packaging Waste regulation offers, and implement the necessary changes.
The exponential expansion of the production of raw plastic materials since 2005 has resulted in
increased waste generation and over 170 trillion plastic particles in the world’s oceans. Virtually all plastic products are derived from plastic pellets, flakes and powders (hereinafter referred to simply as
pellets), meaning the transboundary shipment of pellets has also drastically expanded. Due to pellets’
size and current handling across the supply chain, they often end up in the environment and are one of
the largest sources of primary microplastic pollution. In response, the European Union (EU) should take
all necessary steps to regulate plastic pellets across the plastic supply chain and effectively reduce the
amount of pellets that end up in the environment.
This briefing focuses on non-governmental organisations’ (NGOs) position on the recent devastating increase in paper packaging. For the wider NGO position on EU packaging rules please see the position paper developed by the Rethink Plastic alliance.