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Commission unveils green paper on plastic waste

Europe – The European Commission has launched a consultation exercise on policy options for a further reduction of plastic waste. This move indicates that no action will be proposed before 2014 when EU waste legislation is due to be revised.

The long-anticipated green paper comprises most if not all the policy options put out to consultation in 2011, including the phasing-out or banning of plastic waste landfilling. Arguing that a ban on plastic bags would violate the packaging waste directive, some manufacturers have already taken a stand against such a proposal.

The European Commission’s environment department says pricing measures to reduce the number of plastic bags in circulation should be examined, citing the results of a study suggesting they account for more than 70% of total waste collected by trawlers along the Tuscany coast.

The department adds that ‘soft measures’ – such as guidelines for producers and retailers – could also be adopted to further reduce packaging waste, which has been calculated to represent 63% of all plastic waste generated.

Stakeholders have been given until June 7 this year to answer the 26 questions in the green paper.

Source: ENDS

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