European Commission leaves UK commitment to plastic reduction in its wake

17th January 2018

The EU Commission has released a new strategy today about how to reduce plastic waste, which we all know is a massive problem. Is it good enough, or could the UK do better?

On the launch of the European Commission’s EU Strategy on Plastics in a Circular Economy today, Julian Kirby, plastic and waste campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“It’s brilliant that the European Commission is taking global leadership by laying out a strategy to get rid of the single-use plastics polluting our seas, rivers and countryside. With an estimated one third of fish caught in the English Channel containing plastic, it’s not just marine life like whales and turtles suffering from plastic pollution, our own health is at risk as well.

“Though there’s a way to go yet, the Commission’s plans, including action on discarded plastic fishing gear and measures to prevent the loss of pre-production plastic pellets, the second largest source of microplastic pollution, outstrip what the UK government’s lofty but detail-free 25-year environment plan suggested last week.

“Mr. Gove has been speaking passionately about the opportunity for the UK to be a green global leader. Whatever anyone thinks of Brexit, the stronger commitments made in the European Commission’s new Plastics Strategy make an embarrassing comparison for the UK’s target-lite, regulation-free, lacklustre approach.

“Europe has thrown down the low-plastic gauntlet for Mr. Gove to show if a post-Brexit UK really will be an environmental leader.”