Lessen your overall impact is the message from Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment.
At a recent event organised by PlasticsEurope in Germany, Potočnik said: “I believe in the future of the European plastics industry. But the time has come to be more critical of our use of plastics.”
The Commissioners views were aired to a gathering of business leaders from the European plastics industry, representatives of the green lobby and officials from European organisations.
“We need green economics and we need green economics in the plastics industry,” he said.
The Commissioner also acknowledged the benefits of plastics, such as their light-weighting advantage in areas such as automotive and packaging.
However, the moves towards innovation and sustainability have set the challenge of how to make the most of plastics’ benefits without increasing environmental impacts.
More with less is the key
“Future competitiveness will depend on doing more with less,” he said.
One challenge is to improve plastics recycling in the EU. While some countries have high recycling rates, others are sending too much plastic to landfill.
“Too often plastics are downcycled, not recycled,” the Commissioner has said.
He also urged the plastics industry to help develop products which are designed for sustainability, products that can be repaired, updated and dismantled easily.
Major environmental issues for the entire plastics industry include marine litter (see our blog on Sea Drones!) and the proliferation of carrier bags (again see previous blogs on carrier bags!).
Reducing the use of carrier bags
The European Commission is currently assessing options to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags.
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