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 Full text 
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment (debate)

  Lynn Boylan, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. – Mr President, today we will approve the Single-Use Plastics Directive, one of the highest profile pieces of legislation in the EU, and we have a good outcome thanks to the rapporteur, despite the Council dragging down the ambition. But I would caution and say hold off from popping the champagne corks just yet, because the truth is that the linear plastics economy will be continuing business as usual.

We have some very positive measures in this directive, but we should all acknowledge that we are still just scratching the surface here. Banning cotton buds and plastic plates is a good move, but where is the systemic change that we need to achieve? How do we stop the 13 million tonnes of plastic from entering the ocean every year? The plastic spoon, we know, is thanks to the fracking boom and the fossil-fuel industry’s desperate attempts to secure its future. So plastic will remain cheap and ubiquitous, unless we take on the fossil-fuel industry and strongly regulate the plastic manufacturers. We need to stop talking about the circular economy in just fancy words, and we really need to think about how we put this principle into action.

So what’s great is that this directive has raised awareness about plastics, but we absolutely need to hit home that the answer to the plastics crisis is not about individuals rejecting straws or even campaigning for a straw ban – it’s about radically changing our production lines.

Last updated: 28 June 2019Legal notice