The European Commission plans to ban plastic packaging in the European Union by setting stricter standards for manufacturers in order to reduce the plastic pollution, thus forming the ground of a greener Europe.
Dangers of microplastics came to the public’s attention in the last years. Every piece of plastic, which is smaller than 5 millimetres, is considered microplastics. Microplastics nowadays can be found in soil, water, thus in food chain too. It is estimated that in every year more than 10 million tons of microplastics pollute the nature. This results in chemicals coming out of them and getting absorbed by the nature, having yet unknown consequences for humans.
By the end of 2020 the Commission intends to come up with a detailed plan about the plastics regulation. On one hand, it would like to restrict the usage of such materials on the consumer side, on the other hand, it would like to press the manufacturers to restrain from the usage of plastic as wrappings or require them to use recycled materials. Representatives of the plastic industry expressed their doubts about the planned regulation, as the size of the polypropylene, polystyrene industry and market is USD 10 million.
As the first milestone of the EU’s “green agenda”, previously in late 2019, the EU adopted the Single-Use Plastics Directive, in which it banned single use plastic cutlery, straws from 2021. Moreover, the EU further investigates how it could regulate cosmetic industry or tire manufacturers to use less microplastic in their products.