Plastics are an important material in our economy and daily lives. However, they can have serious negative effects on the environment and human health.
The EU adopted a European strategy for plastics in January 2018. It is part of the EU’s circular economy action plan, and builds on existing measures to reduce plastic waste.
The plastics strategy is a key element of Europe’s transition towards a carbon neutral and circular economy. It will contribute to reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement objectives and the EU’s industrial policy objectives.
The plastics strategy aims to protect our environment and reduce marine litter, greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on imported fossil fuels. It will support more sustainable and safer consumption and production patterns for plastics.
The plastics strategy also aims to transform the way plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled in the EU.
Making recycling profitable for business
- new rules on packaging to improve the recyclability of plastics and increase the demand for recycled plastic content
- improving the separate collection of plastic waste
- launching an EU-wide pledging campaign targeting industry and public authorities
Curbing plastic waste
- a Directive on single use plastic products and fishing gear
- measures to restrict the use of microplastics in products and address and reduce the unintentional release of microplastics into the environment
- measures on bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics
- new rules on port reception facilities to tackle sea-based marine litter
Driving innovation and investment
- scaling up support for innovation, with an additional €100 million to develop smarter and more recyclable plastics materials, to make recycling processes more efficient, and to trace and remove hazardous substances and contaminants from recycled plastics
Spurring global change
- working with our international partners to devise global solutions and develop international standards on plastics
For a full list of actions and their timeline, see Annex I of the plastics strategy.
Previous and upcoming actions
- 11 March 2020European Commission adopts new circular economy action plan, including revised legislative proposals on waste
- 2 July 2019Directive on single-use plastics enters into force
- 28 May 2018Commission proposal for a Directive on single-use plastics
- 16 January 2018Commission adopts EU plastics strategy
- 11 March 2020: Changing how we produce and consume: New Circular Economy Action Plan shows the way to a climate-neutral, competitive economy of empowered consumers
- 21 May 2019: Circular Economy: Commission welcomes Council final adoption of new rules on single-use plastics to reduce marine plastic litter
- 28 May 2018: Single-use plastics: New EU rules to reduce marine litter
- 16 January 2018: Plastic Waste: a European strategy to protect the planet, defend our citizens and empower our industries
- 16 January 2018: Questions & Answers: A European strategy for plastics