5 ways the EU is working to fight plastic pollution

Let’s clean up our beaches and oceans! © Peyo © European Union
Are you joining us and the Smurfs for the beach cleanup? © Peyo © European Union

1. Beach-clean up with Smurfs

By 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the sea. This September was our third #EUBeachCleanup, and this time it the UN and the Smurfs helped organise events around the world to make our shores cleaner and protect marine ecosystems.

EU rules also aim at reducing lost and abandoned fishing gear in our oceans. © Peyo © European Union

2. The first-ever EU-wide plastic strategy

In response to our December 2017 public consultation on single-use plastics, an overwhelming 98.5% of Europeans said it was “necessary” to act on single-use plastics, and 95% considered it “necessary and urgent.”

3. Ready for change?

Our campaign Be ready to change! aims at inspiring people to use sustainable and easily available alternatives to the ten most commonly found plastics on Europe’s beaches.

‘Plasticus’, an 8-metre long whale made with the same amount of plastic that enters the oceans every second © European Union, 2018 / Source: EC Audiovisual Service / Photo: Théodore Boermans.

4. All stakeholders, now on board

Our Plastics Strategy also focuses on getting the industry and producers involved to cover the costs of waste management and clean-up. The industry will be given incentives to develop less polluting alternatives for these products. We have already received over 70 pledges, including from many big names in the industry that will promote recycled plastics.

5. A circular economy for the future

Our plastics strategy is part of the transition towards a circular economy. Under our new plans, all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030, thereby reducing the consumption of single-use plastics. You can contribute to our public consultation on microplastics and help us shape a plastic strategy that you want.

Plastic bags

Our 2015 Single-use plastic bags Directive required EU countries to implement the most appropriate measures to reduce plastic bag usage by 80% by 2019 compared to 2010 levels. The Eurobarometer survey indicates 72% of European citizens cut down on their use of single-use plastic bags. Now it is time to work together and tackle other such single-use plastics.

See more:



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
European Commission

European Commission

Official Medium account of @EU_Commission | Stories, posts & articles about our work. Our social media policy: https://ec.europa.eu/info/social-media-use