European Commission welcomes Council final adoption of new rules on single-use plastics to reduce marine plastic litter

European Commission welcomes Council final adoption of new rules on single-use plastics to reduce marine plastic litter

May 24, 2019
Marcia González

The Directive will enter into force 20 days after  publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Member States will then have two years to transpose the legislation into their national law

The Council of the European Union has now adopted the ambitious measures proposed by the Commission to tackle marine litter coming from the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on European beaches, as well as abandoned fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics.

The rules on Single-Use Plastics items and fishing gear envisage different measures to apply to different product and place the EU at the forefront of the global fight against marine litter. Where alternatives are easily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market, such as cutlery, plates and straws. For other products, the focus is on limiting their use through a national reduction in consumption; on design and labelling requirements; and waste management/clean-up obligations for producers.

“There is a growing sense of urgency in European society to do whatever it takes to stop plastic pollution in our oceans,” commented First Vice-President Frans Timmermans (pictured above), responsible for sustainable development. “The EU is responding to this clear call of our citizens. We have taken ambitious steps by introducing concrete measures to reduce the use of single-use plastics. The new rules that have been adopted will help us to protect the health of our people and safeguard our natural environment, while promoting more sustainable production and consumption. We can all be proud that Europe is setting new and ambitious standards, paving the way for the rest of the world.”

“Plastic straws or forks are little objects but can make great, long-lasting damages,” added Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries. “The single-use plastics legislation will address 70% of marine litters items, avoiding environmental damage that would otherwise cost €22 billion by 2030. The EU has delivered fast and effectively on a proposal the Commission presented just one year ago. All in all, it’s European legislation at its best – responding to popular demand, benefiting the planet as well its inhabitants, and genuinely leading the world.”

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2019 will take place from Thursday 27 June to Friday 28 June, at the Kap Europa, Frankfurt Messe, Frankfurt, Germany. To register for this highly focused and solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email

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