The Greens/EFA group has welcomed the European Commission's proposals for a directive on single use plastics, but called for stronger reduction targets and action on chemicals used in plastics.
Greens/EFA environment spokesperson Bas Eickhout comments:
"Plastic is an undeniably useful commodity, but it's too environmentally costly to be wasted on unnecessary items like straws and food containers. We need binding reduction targets to make sure that these single use items are phased out as soon as possible.
Getting rid of straws will be easy but some products will be harder to replace. If we want producers to innovate, we need to give them the right financial incentives and taxing the production of plastics would help drive this change. By levying charges on production, rather than on waste, we can protect local authorities from bearing the full financial cost of plastic."
Margrete Auken as the European Parliament's rapporteur for the 2015 EU legislation to reduce plastic bag use. She adds:
"The plastic bag legislation has proven that smart policy measures can have a huge impact on public behaviour. It’s time to repeat that success for other single use plastics.
The Commission should be using this opportunity to tighten rules around what can be included in plastics. Toxic chemicals such as Bisphenol A are linked to major health concerns like cancer and can cause serious damage to reproductive health. Given the serious danger posed by adding these chemicals and the obstacles it gives to a proper recycling system - we need to get them out of the economy entirely."