Discussions between my Department and the EU in relation to actions on plastics have been in the context of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, which the Commission published on 16 January 2018. The strategy is built around 4 key actions:
- Improving the economics and quality of plastics recycling
- Curbing plastic waste and littering
- Driving innovation and investment towards circular solutions and
- Harnessing Global Action.
The strategy focuses on plastics production and use and sets a goal of ensuring all plastic packaging is recyclable by 2030. The strategy lists future EU measures and recommends measures to national authorities and industry for the attainment of its goals. I am committed to full engagement with this Strategy and indeed expressed my commitment to Commissioner Karmenu Vella in a letter to him last February.
In my letter to Commissioner Vella, in the context of the EU plastic strategy, I asked the Commissioner to focus in particular on the more difficult non-recyclable plastics such as soft wrapping, film and single use items like coffee cups and plastic cutlery. The Commission has indicated that an announcement will be made next month around its intentions in this area.