The European Parliament is calling for much tougher action from the EU to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment.
MEPs have passed a resolution demanding that the most dangerous materials be banned by 2020, and for the introduction of binding recycling targets for collecting and sorting up to 80 percent of the EU’s waste.
Europe is the world’s second biggest producer of plastic after China. Only a quarter is recycled, the rest is incinerated or ends up in landfill sites or the oceans.
MEPs say the damage is aggravated by weak law enforcement, and the lack of specific legislation. They argue that fully enforcing EU legislation on waste could save 72 billion euros a year, boost the annual turnover of EU waste management and recycling firms by 42 billion euros, and create over 400,000 jobs by 2020.
The resolution’s backers said the ball is now in the court of the European Commission.
“At the moment, the Commission is reviewing all its policy on waste. That’s three directives: the landfill directive, the packaging directive, and the waste framework directive. So it is very important to have this resolution coming now, and for it to be very strong and very green, because it will give a very strong signal to the Commission,” said Ariadna Rodrigo of Friends of the Earth Europe.
MEPs want the Commission to come up with a plan that would see no more unnecessary waste in landfill sites by 2020, and to discourage its incineration.