Full text 
Verbatim report of proceedings
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 - Strasbourg Revised edition

18. Decision on the Strategy on Plastics (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Puhemies. Esityslistalla on seuraavana komission julkilausuma päätöksestä muovistrategiasta (2018/2508(RSP)).


  Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission. – Madam President, we have managed to make solid progress in the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan. Thanks to Parliament’s hard work, one of the key initiatives, the legislative package on waste, is now very close to adoption. I am grateful for the hard work of Simona Bonafè and all the shadow rapporteurs involved. The package the Commission adopted yesterday keeps us on this very positive track. The main element of this package is the Plastics Strategy for Europe.

There is a tide of growing awareness and concern among people, businesses and governments about the enormity of plastic pollution. In last year’s special Eurobarometer survey, 84% of European citizens said that they are worried about the impact of plastics on our environment. The Commission also received a petition signed by 800 000 Europeans calling on us to deliver an ambitious plan, and I know that, in this House too, there is a sense of urgency about this issue.

Plastic pollution is an enormous challenge, threatening our environment and health. Every second, approximately 700 kilos of plastic waste ends up in our oceans. If we go on this way, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Micro-plastics are found not just in our oceans but also in our water, in the water we drink, in the food we eat, and in the air we breathe. Also, the way we produce, use and dispose of plastics today is a threat to several economic sectors: fisheries and tourism, to name two. It is also a wasted economic opportunity. Vice-President Katainen will say more about that in a second.

With this strategy, we aim to foster a new, sustainable and profitable plastics economy, with the design of products and other parts of the production chain taking into account re-use and recycling needs.

Plastic packaging accounts for about 60% of all plastic waste generated in Europe every year. It is therefore paramount that we address packaging as a priority. Our aim is that, by 2030, all plastic packaging placed on the EU market will be reusable or recyclable in a cost-effective manner. We have quickly begun work on future revision of rules, and new harmonised rules, on packaging.

In the shorter term, we need to curb plastic waste and reduce the use of certain types of plastic. Several measures for that are provided for in the strategy. We will propose an EU-level legislative initiative on single-use plastics before summer. Single-use plastic items constitute 50% of litter found on EU beaches, and it is important that we significantly reduce the use of these products.

Micro-plastics are another serious problem. We have launched a process to ban micro-plastics that are intentionally added to products such as cosmetics, paints and detergents, and we can do that under the Reach framework. Also, we will continue our work to ban oxo-plastics because these oxo-plastics fragment to tiny pieces, exacerbating the micro-plastics accumulation even more.

Together with this strategy, we adopted a new directive on port reception facilities, which goes a long way, ensuring that waste is brought back to land instead of being discharged at sea. We will also develop additional measures to motivate those working on boats to bring the fishing gear to land and not dump it into the sea.

Since a significant part of plastic pollution comes from other parts of the world, we will need to work together with the rest of the world to make sure that we improve the situation. We, as the EU, can be a global leader in this. We have been a global leader on climate action and we can be a global leader here as well. We need the full support of this Parliament if we are to be successful.

Vice-President Katainen will now explain how this is also working well for our economy.


  Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the Commission. – Madam President, honourable Members, today, or actually yesterday we adopted a plastic strategy, which is the elementary part of the circular economy thinking. Today, all too often the way plastics are produced, used and discarded fails to capture the economic benefits of a more circular approach.

According to the estimates only 5% of the value of plastic packaging materials remains in the economy, the rest goes to waste after a very short first use. The annual bill accounts for up to EUR 105 billion. We simply cannot afford it.

This is why we are proposing rethinking and improving the functioning of the entire complex value chain: plastic producers, designers, retailers and recyclers and consumers all need to act. It often seems to be forgotten that high levels of plastic recycling can only be achieved by improving the way plastics are produced and designed.

The aim is that by 2030 all plastic packaging will be reusable and recyclable. This will be achieved by stimulating design for circularity, boosting recycled content and stimulating better separate waste collection. Plastics packaging today accounts for about 60% of all plastics waste generated in Europe every year. It is therefore paramount that we address this as a priority.

In the EU, the uptake of recycled plastics in new products is low; only around 6%. Our objective is to support the creation of more stable markets for recycled plastics and ensure the demand for recycled plastics is multiplied by four.

In other words, our aim is, first, to create a truly well-functioning single market for recyclable plastics, second to improve waste collection and, third, promote recycled plastics. The intention is to stimulate investment in the sector.

Existing EU funds such as the structural funds, the European Fund for Strategic Investments and Horizon 2020 will continue to support businesses and Member States to upgrade their waste management infrastructure. We aim at stimulating the increase of the European recycling capacity and the quality of the resulting recycled material.

This will create trust in the market and attract further investment and innovation in Europe. But plastic waste reduction depends not only on the recycling infrastructure, it can also be reduced by using more sustainable materials which could replace traditional plastic while offering the same functionalities.

Later this year the Commission will develop a strategic research innovation agenda for plastics. The focus will be the development of smarter and more recyclable plastic materials and products, more efficient recycling processes, the removal of hazardous substances and contaminants from recycled plastics and finding solutions addressing the problem of micro-plastics.

And if we manage to set things right the world will follow us. It is always the case that good European policies are copied elsewhere, and that should be our goal, to have a global impact. This is the most effective way to ensure that the European plastics industry, employing today as many as 1.5 million people, will become stronger, more competitive and at the same time the world leader in innovation, digitisation and decarbonisation.


  Peter Liese, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, sehr geehrte Herren Vizepräsidenten, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Ich begrüße sehr, dass die Kommission heute die Strategie vorgelegt hat. Wir haben ein Riesenproblem, wir haben ein Problem mit der Verschmutzung der Weltmeere. Es ist zwar eine dramatische Schilderung, aber an dem, was Sie, Herr Vizepräsident Timmermans, gestern erklärt haben, ist sicher etwas dran, dass wir, wenn wir nicht aufpassen, 2050 mehr Plastik im Meer haben als Fisch. Und es bringt heute schon gesundheitliche Probleme mit sich. Wir haben auch das Problem, dass wir die Rohstoffe unserer Kinder verbrauchen, dass wir insgesamt zu wenig Kreislaufwirtschaft haben und zu viel Wegwerfgesellschaft. Deswegen müssen wir etwas tun.

Die Kommission hat sehr interessante Vorschläge gemacht. Immerhin gibt es auch einen Legislativvorschlag, der jetzt schon dabei ist. Und da möchte ich ansetzen. Wir müssen aufhören, nur zu reden. Wir müssen sehr konkret handeln. Und dazu braucht es Gesetzgebungsvorschläge. Die Europäische Kommission ist das einzige Gremium, das Gesetzgebungsvorschläge machen kann. Deswegen: Glückwunsch zu dem einen, sehr kleinen Vorschlag, den Sie gemacht haben. Aber ich möchte wirklich darum bitten, dass, wie angekündigt, im Mai der nächste Vorschlag kommt und dass es dabei auch nicht bleibt.

Wir brauchen einen gesetzlichen Rahmen, der diejenigen, die Recycling nach vorne bringen wollen, und diejenigen, die nachhaltige Produktionsmethoden nach vorne bringen wollen, im Wettbewerb besser stellt. Denn es gibt überall gute Ideen, und es gibt überall Menschen, die etwas tun wollen. Aber es gibt auch überall Shareholder, die sagen: Wenn du das machst, verlieren wir Geld. Also müssen die Regeln so sein, dass man kein Geld verliert, wenn man in nachhaltige Produktion investiert, sondern dass man Geld gewinnt. Auf dem Weg sollten wir zusammen arbeiten.


  Kathleen Van Brempt, namens de S&D-Fractie. – Als Frans Timmermans er is, neem ik altijd de gelegenheid te baat om in mijn eigen taal te spreken. Dat is een beetje vervelend voor de andere commissaris, maar die kan naar de vertolking luisteren. Laat me beginnen met te zeggen “bedankt, dikke proficiat”. Het was hoog tijd, maar jullie doen het. Jullie komen met een strategie rond plastic en ik denk dat we vandaag de enige grote regio in de wereld zijn die die verantwoordelijkheid neemt. Daarmee zetten wij ook de standaard voor de rest van de wereld. Dat is heel belangrijk!

Wij gaan jullie daar ten volle in ondersteunen. We kijken ook vooral uit naar de wetgevende voorstellen, want zachtewetgevingsstrategieën en bewustmaking zijn allemaal goed en wel, maar we hebben ook wetgeving nodig. Ik denk dan aan de werkgroep wegwerpplastic maar ook aan de wetgeving inzake havenontvangstinstallaties. Die zijn allebei heel belangrijk en het Parlement gaat daar zeker zijn schouders onder zetten.

Er komt ook een onderzoek naar een belasting op wegwerpplastic. Dat is een heel belangrijk item in heel veel van onze lidstaten. Onze fractie wil dat ondersteunen. Ik denk dat dat een goeie manier is om plastic weg te belasten.

Waar we het minder mee eens zijn is om die belasting te gebruiken als een soort van eigen inkomsten voor de Unie, want dit is bij uitstek een belasting die je niet wil innen, die naar nul moet. En als we over eigen inkomsten praten - en daar zijn we zeer grote voorstander van - dan willen we daar een stabiele basis voor hebben.

Een laatste punt. Het is heel belangrijk dat de Commissie voorstelt om tegen 2030 ervoor te zorgen dat alle plasticverpakkingen recycleerbaar zijn. Bekijk dat samen met het schitterende werk dat onze rapporteur Simona Bonafè en de anderen gedaan hebben rond het afvalpakket en de circulaire economie. Dan heb je een goede basis. Maar we gaan ook moeten zorgen dat we een markt creëren, dat de producenten die recycleerbare verpakkingen ook gaan gebruiken. Zolang goedkope olie gemakkelijker bereikbaar is dan de recycleerbare materialen, hebben we een probleem. Daarom zijn er straffe initiatieven nodig, bijvoorbeeld ervoor zorgen dat producten van de toekomst een minimaal aantal recycleerbare materialen bevatten. Maar dank alvast voor dit initiatief!


  Julie Girling, on behalf of the ECR Group. –Madam President, I would like to thank our Vice-Presidents. It is interesting to hear your proposal.

I know that it is not a very fashionable thing to say, but I am actually a great fan of plastic. It is a wonderful material. It has transformed most of our lives, certainly mine. If you are as old as I am, you can remember when there was not very much plastic around and life was very different. But we all have to accept, and there is common agreement, that we have probably got to the point where – a bit like all of our issues around climate change – it is time that we stopped just taking the benefits and realised that there are some pretty heavy downsides.

I really think that this argument is done. It is made. I doubt if you will hear too many people today, or in the future when you are putting the strategy into place, arguing with that. I think our problem is going to be about how we put these proposals in place. Perhaps, given where I stand in the Chamber and possibly a little bit my nationality, it will not come as a great surprise to you that I am not such a fan as the two previous speakers of the legislation. That is not to say that I do not think we need any – of course we do, we do need a framework – but I would like to make an appeal for that to be as light as possible in the sense of setting Member States’ targets and allowing them to use their own best efforts to meet those.

The new thing in here that I took away was this issue about setting a single market for recyclable plastics, standards on how they are manufactured and what they are manufactured with. That is how you stimulate this change. It is by creating a market, making that market work and trusting the public. I can tell you that in the UK, where we have just banned microplastics, there was no resistance. They do not need to be brought on board. It is actually the functioning of the whole system that needs to be taken very seriously, so I thank you very much.


  Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Madam President, many thanks from my side to the Commission for their strategy paper. If a few years ago, someone had told me that two Vice-Presidents would present a strategy on plastics in Parliament I would have sent that person to the madhouse.

So it is great to see that commitment from the Commission, and leafing through the strategy, I must say the analysis is very strong, the language is right and the intentions are very, very promising. If the European Commission were a consultancy firm I would certainly recommend it to all my friends and businesses around.

But the Commission is a political body; not only that, it is the only political body that can propose legislative proposals. And that is what is still lacking here. I know some elements are technically difficult: setting common standards for biodegradable plastics is not easy, and I know there’s a huge scientific debate behind that. But there are many other elements that are much less complicated and that have already been considered by the Commission for years and years, even by previous commissioners.

Ms Girling has already mentioned that tackling the use of micro plastics in cosmetics would have been easy, and it would have been quite easy to set minimum standards for recycled content in the Ecodesign Directive. And what about measures on single-use plastics? That has been done the around the world

So concluding, I’m very happy with the strategy, but I had expected a little bit more on the legislative part. I know that your intention is to come forward with those, please do so during your mandate because if it is left to the next Commission we don’t know if the same two vice-presidents will still be still there.


  Kateřina Konečná, za skupinu GUE/NGL. – Děkuji také oběma pánům z Komise, kteří dnes přišli mezi nás, aby nám představili ten materiál, na který jsme asi všichni dlouho čekali, nicméně musím říci, že nám předložená strategie ve mně nechává spíše smíšené pocity. Na jedné straně velice vítám, že Evropská komise plánuje pracovat tak, aby zajistila, že veškeré plastové obaly uváděné na vnitřní trh EU budou do roku 2030 buď opakovatelně použitelné, nebo snadno recyklovatelné, a že více než polovina veškerého plastového odpadu bude do stejného roku recyklovatelná. Jednotný vnitřní trh s plasty je správná cesta, která však bude vyžadovat robustní investice.

V současné době čelíme přímo celosvětové krizi, co se týče plastového obalu, a nemáme čas čekat do roku 2030 a nevyřešíme to ani tak, že z Číny, kde už naše plastové odpady nechtějí, je začneme vozit do Afriky. Situace v našich mořích je dlouhodobě neudržitelná a to nejenom kvůli mikroplastům. Proto je nezbytné, aby na základě strategie byly co nejrychleji předloženy ambiciózní předpisy a to ještě touto Komisí. Ty musí drasticky snížit spotřebu jak plastových předmětů, tak obalů. Obešli jsme se bez nich před tím, musíme se obejít i do budoucna.

Nejsem si jista, jestli stačí spoléhat pouze na dobrovolné závazky průmyslu. Po několika studiích biodegradabilních plastů provedených u nás v ČR, kdy bylo zjištěno, že ve většině případů se tyto nerozkládají ani po dvou letech v půdě, jsem skeptická i vůči nim. Měli bychom začít ověřovat to, co navrhujeme, a ne se nechat ukonejšit průmyslem nad tím, co nám navrhuje on.


  Margrete Auken, for Verts/ALE-Gruppen. – Fru formand! Det er virkelig en stor dag! Det er trods alt fire år siden, at Kommissionen, og ikke mindst kommissær Timmermans, og jeg var virkelig oppe at slås. Kommissæren var sikker på, at plastik var "small things", og Kommissionen skulle være lillebitte om "small things". Nu står vi her, og Kommissionen har erkendt, at plastikforurening er "big things". De er ovenikøbet kommet med noget, som er rimelig "big". Det ender med at blive en vane hos mig at skulle rose Timmermans, og det gør jeg med glæde, hver eneste gang han giver mig anledning til det. Så tusind mange tak!

Men der er selvfølgelig et par småting! Men lad mig først lige tage rosen videre: Det er fint, at der er en sammenhængende beskrivelse af problemet, så vi både har sundhed, klima, natur, job og ressourceeffektivitet med, og at nødvendigheden af konkurrencefordele nævnes. Jeg mener også, at vi skal have industrien ordentligt ind, som det er nævnt af flere, bl.a. af Peter Liese. Jeg støtter, at man sørger for, at vi får en progressiv støtte til industrien. Vi skal have midtvejsevalueringer, så vi kan se, at vi faktisk når noget. Så vil jeg også gerne deltage i sorgen over, at der ikke er konkrete forslag. Men nu har jeg været så glad, så jeg vil nøjes med i stedet at glæde mig over, at vi har fået lovning på, at forslagene kommer til maj. Jeg regner med, at centrale dele af dem kan være færdige, så vi kan møde vores borgere med et bevis på, at vi faktisk tager deres bekymringer alvorligt. Jeg tror, at det bedste, vi kan gøre for at styrke EU i denne her sag, er at gøre noget rigtigt godt her.

Jeg har endnu en enkelt lille ting: Jeg ved, at Kommissionen har et problem med hormonforstyrrende stoffer. Jeg ved ikke, om de selv er blevet forstyrrede i hovedet, siden vi ikke kan få lov til at få dem med. Vi bliver altså nødt til at sørge for, at også de hormonforstyrrende stoffer kommer ud af plastik, hvis det skal kunne genbruges og genindvindes. Men lad mig sige tusind tak for, at vi omsider får et forbud mod oxo. Det skal forbydes så hurtigt som overhovedet muligt. Det er en katastrofe, at dette stof er i vores miljø.


  Julia Reid, on behalf of the EFDD Group. – Madam President, my party and I strongly value products, materials and resources in our economy, and we believe that these should be kept in use for as long as possible in order to minimise the generation of waste in our environment.

Thus, it is our opinion that plastic, which is an extremely important material, should be used prudently. However, food packaging has led to a reduction in food wastage. The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation estimates that 33% of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, totalling about 1.3 billion tons per year. Therefore, packaging techniques such as modified atmosphere packaging and innovations such as active and intelligent packaging can ameliorate this.

My party and I therefore believe that plastic packaging which cannot be reused should be made of a substance that can be recycled.


  Sylvie Goddyn, au nom du groupe ENF. – Madame la Présidente, Messieurs les Vice—présidents, depuis la publication en 2013 du livre vert sur la stratégie concernant les plastiques, nous avons pris la mesure d’un problème majeur qui met gravement en danger l’environnement et la santé des Européens.

Du «tout-plastique» hier, nous prenons aujourd’hui le chemin plus raisonnable de l’économie et du recyclage.

Le chiffre alarmant de huit millions de tonnes de déchets plastiques déversés chaque année dans nos océans nous presse d’agir.

Lutter contre la pollution en augmentant la durée de vie des plastiques et la teneur de ceux-ci en matières recyclables, promouvoir les plastiques biodégradables et responsabiliser les consommateurs sont des mesures qui vont dans le bon sens.

Mais il faut aller plus loin, à savoir interdire le plastique partout où c’est possible, surtout lorsque d’autres options existent déjà, et s’éloigner le plus possible de la logique du «tout—jetable».

Je pense notamment aux plastiques à usage unique, qui peuvent être remplacés rapidement par des matériaux en carton ou à base de papier recyclé, et qui sont des solutions de remplacement durables.

Vous pourrez en tout cas, Messieurs les Vice-présidents, compter sur notre groupe pour alimenter en propositions cette stratégie que vous souhaitez ambitieuse.


  Adina-Ioana Vălean (PPE). – Madam President, the plastic strategy is long-awaited and from what I hear already today the commissioners will have huge support in the European Parliament to help them deliver on this strategy.

We all agree that high-quality recycling of plastics is a key part of the process, yet we need a viable market for them. That is why I welcomed the proposal for quality standards for recycled plastics and the intention to incentivise packaging for the construction and car industries to use more of them. That creates a complete economic value chain, giving the industry the possibility to adapt to the new rules.

Moreover, while taking into account food safety, we need to discourage multi-layer packaging and encourage easier-to-recycle plastics. We can and should have more ambition when it comes to micro-plastics in detergents in detergents and cosmetics and single-use plastics, by building on the success of our legislation on plastic bags.

In the end, as has been said many times, the ocean and the seas are being suffocated by plastic particles, and I’m very happy to see the EUR 100 million in funding for research and support for action on marine litter. However, we need to consider every level of production, recycling and disposal for this strategy to be a success story.


  Miriam Dalli (S&D). – Madam President, let me start straightaway by congratulating both Vice-Presidents. I have been through the strategy. I have spoken to both of you and I have to say I am satisfied that for the first time ever we are looking at the issue with a holistic perspective.

It could be that I come from an island in the middle of the Mediterranean, and that makes me much more aware of the environmental and health problems that plastic waste brings. I think this is our opportunity to actually make sure that we put environment at the forefront, while also making sure that we get industry on board.

We need to make sure that we remain competitive and we do not let other continents run in front of us in the competitiveness stakes. This is our opportunity because people are aware of the impact that plastic has, not only on our environment but also on our health. I have to be honest with you, I was quite shocked to hear that micro-plastics are not only ending up on our seabed, not only in the fish that we eat, but are also in the air we breathe. It is such a complex issue and so great a problem that we need to address it sooner rather than later.

I have spoken to both of you, and if I may, as a final point, I would like to commit you on something, because I have heard some of the concerns that were raised. When we spoke, you promised a ban on the deliberate addition of micro-plastics, in detergents and cosmetics for example.

You spoke about legislation on single-use plastics, and we will hold you to your word. We hope that we will see this by May, as we really want to make sure that we have progress on another legislative proposal from your end to make sure that waste does not come into our ports.


  Mark Demesmaeker (ECR). – De strategie is zonder meer weer een stap vooruit naar de kringloopeconomie die we allemaal voor ogen hebben en waarin meer en beter recycleren van plastic een belangrijke en noodzakelijke schakel is.

Bedankt en proficiat voor de ambitie die de Commissie hier toont. We moeten het Chinese importverbod op plastic resoluut aangrijpen om meer te investeren in eigen recyclagecapaciteit. Maar meer recycleren alleen is natuurlijk niet voldoende. We moeten ook inzetten op het voorkomen van afval, op doordachte productontwerpen, op nieuwe bedrijfsmodellen. Ik verwelkom ook de genuanceerde houding van de Commissie over biologisch afbreekbaar plastic. Duidelijke afspraken zijn nodig, maar we moeten ook beseffen dat zelfs dát soort plastic geen zaligmakende oplossing is voor zwerfvuil op zee, integendeel.

Ook de aangekondigde acties inzake microplastics klinken veelbelovend. Europese oplossingen moeten, zullen, kúnnen hier echt het verschil maken.

Tot slot roep ik de Commissie op om snel werk te maken van het wetgevend werk, maar ook oog te hebben voor maatwerk en haar acties niet te beperken tot consumentenverpakkingen. Ook in de business-to-business-markt is er zeker ruimte voor innovatie!


  Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL). – Frau Präsidentin, meine Herren Vizepräsidenten! Ich begrüße, dass sich die Kommission mit ihrer Kunststoffstrategie der Umsetzung von Umweltanforderungen stellt. Das konzeptionelle Korsett für diese Strategie wird sich jedoch kaum als tragfähig erweisen, denn die gewählte Freiwilligkeit, der Fokus auf Recycling und Wiederverwertung sowie die Betrachtung des Plastikproblems allein aus der Sicht des Binnenmarkts sowie von Angebot und Nachfrage werden keine Lösung liefern. Konkret: Dass Deutschland seine bisher von China abgenommenen jährlich 570 000 Tonnen Plastikmüll zukünftig nicht illegal in Polen, Bulgarien oder Rumänien versteckt, ist, ja, ein Binnenmarktthema. Dass man aber China nicht ersetzt durch Vietnam, die Türkei oder Afrika, ist eine handelspolitische Frage.

Wir haben die Verantwortung, dass Plastik weder bei uns noch woanders einfach deponiert wird. Die Tücke mit diesen Stoffen ist: Aus dem Blick ist vielleicht aus dem Sinn, aber halt nicht aus der Welt. Gründe und Argumente für eine ernsthafte Politik der Müllvermeidung gibt es ebenso wie auch Technologien seines Abbaus. Aber die Industrie singt wie immer ihr Interessenlied: zu hohe Vorgaben. Denn die Kasse klingelt nur, wenn die Produktion brummt. Deshalb brauchen wir Umweltstandards und stoffliche Müllvermeidung schon im produktiven Ansatz als Kriterien und müssen diese auch in international verbindliche Ziele übersetzen.


  Claude Turmes (Verts/ALE). – Frau Präsidentin! Diese schrecklichen Bilder: Plastik am Strand, Plastik im Wald. Tiere, die elendig verrecken – Fische, Kühe. Und dann diese Bilder, dass es sozusagen im Meer einen Kontinent gibt, nur aus Plastik. Ich finde es auch gut, dass Sie die konkrete Zahl genannt haben. Irgendwann werden wir mehr Plastik im Meer haben als Fische. Ich finde es gut, dass die Kommission endlich etwas macht.

Ich sitze hier bei der Mutter Teresa von allen Plastiktüten. Die ist Priesterin und wahrscheinlich hat sie Herrn Timmermans bekehrt, so dass die Juncker-Kommission endlich die kleinen Dinge, die die Menschen interessieren, auch groß machen will. Ich finde es schön, dass Sie Ihre Meinung geändert haben, dass meine ich auch persönlich. Gut, dann brauchen wir mehr Gesetze – aber ich berichte Ihnen jetzt noch etwas aus meiner persönlichen Geschichte: 1991 war ich als junger Mann auf einer Konferenz der UNECE, also Europa, Kanada und so weiter. Damals haben wir über ein Verbot von PVC diskutiert – warum? Weil die Experten damals gesagt haben: Wenn ich PVC und Polyethylen und anderes Plastik vermische, dann kriege ich Downcycling, oder ich muss es verbrennen. Das heißt, für mich wäre die eigentliche politische Courage der Kommission: Wir müssen all das Plastik verbieten, das nach dem Recycling kein ordentliches Produkt wird. Das ist die eigentliche Herausforderung, und ich hoffe, dass die Kommission sich daran wagt.


  Karl-Heinz Florenz (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin! Ja, in der Tat: Zwei Kommissare und dann noch zwei Vizepräsidenten heute hier. Das ist schon ein Wunder. Mutter Teresa hat da eine Menge bewegt. Dass das auch noch zwei Vizepräsidenten sind, um die es bei der Debatte über „groß oder klein“ bei der letzten Wahl ging, darüber wollen wir nicht weiter reden. Sie sind jetzt auch noch beide hier, das spricht für ihren Charakter; es freut mich.

Dass Sie dieses Thema aufgreifen, war ja sichtbar. Damals hatte eben Herr Präsident Juncker falsche Größenordnungen zugrunde gelegt. Heute sind wir froh, dass er das auch sieht. Nur 5 % der Plastikware, die wir in Europa haben, werden verarbeitet. Alles andere landet da, wo meine Kollegen das gerade erwähnt haben. Und deswegen sind wir uns sicher alle einig: Wir müssen da etwas tun.

Herr Kommissar, oder meine Herren Kommissare, eins steht fest: Ich bin nun wohl einer der Ältesten hier in diesem Raum und schon ewige Zeiten hier in diesem Haus. Wenn wir einmal unsere europäischen Abfallgesetze ordentlich umgesetzt hätten – auch in meinem eigenen Land, ich will das gar nicht bestreiten –, dann hätten wir viel weniger Probleme. Dann müssten wir nicht diese Horrorszenarien aufführen, die wir jetzt gerade hier aufführen. Es ist wichtig, dass man maßvolle, durchaus strenge Regeln hat. Und wir müssen die Industrie einbinden und auch verpflichten. Das heißt, wir müssen – wie wir das schon seit vielen Jahren machen – entlang der Wertschöpfungskette dafür sorgen, dass die Designer der Produkte ein ernsthaftes Wort mitreden und dass die Designer sich mit den Recyclern endlich mal zusammensetzen. Der eine sagt dann zum anderen, das sei ein sozialer Abstieg für ihn. Nein, das ist eine Vernunftlösung, und da müssen wir hin! Ich setze in diesem Falle sowieso auf die Kommission, aber auch auf die europäische Industrie, die sich diesen Gedanken anschließen und vernünftige Vorschläge mittragen wird.


  Simona Bonafè (S&D). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, ringrazio la Commissione per la presentazione di questa strategia che è molto importante per l'Europa, sia dal punto di vista ambientale che da quello economico.

Parto da un dato: oggi in Europa si producono 25 milioni di tonnellate di rifiuti plastici e meno del 30 % viene riciclato. Sono dati impressionanti se si considera che gran parte di questi rifiuti sono la prima causa di inquinamento dei mari: oggi esistono intere isole di plastica in mezzo agli oceani. È bene chiarire che questa non è una strategia contro la plastica ma un'opportunità che dobbiamo essere capaci di cogliere. Puntare a rendere da qui al 2030 tutti gli imballaggi in plastica riciclabili e riutilizzabili non è solo un modo per tutelare l'ambiente ma è anche una scelta precisa, che dà nuovo impulso all'industria del riciclo, all'innovazione per materiali più sostenibili, per rilanciare la competitività delle nostre imprese e sostenere l'occupazione. Sfide che richiedono investimenti in ricerca e sviluppo, che verranno stimolati dai 100 milioni di EUR aggiuntivi.

L'accordo sul pacchetto dell'economia circolare che abbiamo raggiunto a dicembre darà già il via concretamente a molte azioni presenti nella strategia, a partire dal rafforzamento degli obblighi di raccolta separata, alle misure di prevenzione nella generazione di rifiuti, come l'introduzione di schemi di responsabilità estesa del produttore per gli imballaggi. Quando si parla di plastica si parla di prodotti e materiali di uso comune per i cittadini europei: bottiglie, cosmetici, buste.

Questo è il momento giusto: c'è un'opinione pubblica molto attenta ai temi della sostenibilità e preoccupata per l'impatto dell'inquinamento sulla salute. I cittadini hanno già dimostrato che, quando si tratta di mettere in atto azioni che tutelano l'ambiente, sono i primi ad adottare comportamenti virtuosi. È nostro dovere passare dalle intenzioni a misure concrete, come stiamo facendo.


  Andrzej Grzyb (PPE). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Też przyłączam się do tych podziękowań, że oto tandem dwóch wiceprzewodniczących przedstawia strategię w tej sprawie, zresztą zapowiedzianą, oczekiwaną z końcem zeszłego roku. To bardzo ważny fakt, że dopełniamy niejako strategię w zakresie gospodarki o obiegu zamkniętym przez tę prezentację ze strony Państwa. Co prawda jeszcze bez regulacji, ale wydaje mi się, że te zapowiedzi, które tutaj są, świadczą o tym, że wszyscy myślimy o tym, że o plastikach czy o tworzywach sztucznych musimy myśleć, od prewencji poczynając, od ekoprojektu aż po dobre – że tak powiem – skuteczne metody zbierania tego, co się produkuje.

Podobno 300 milionów ton w ciągu roku produkujemy różnego rodzaju tworzyw sztucznych w skali świata. Ten znaczący odsetek jest również produkowany tutaj, w Europie.

Jednak na co chciałbym zwrócić uwagę: że w tym dokumencie Państwo nie zwracacie uwagi na połączenie tej strategii w zakresie tworzyw sztucznych z bioekonomią, a przecież to jest w tej chwili pewnego rodzaju nadzieja związana z tym, że surowce odnawialne mogą być źródłem wytwarzania tworzyw sztucznych, które są biodegradowalne. Oczywiście istnieją i takie, które mogą zawierać te komponenty i nie będą biodegradowalne, ale duża część jest biodegradowalna.

Wiemy, jakie są zmiany na rynkach surowców rolnych. Niektóre z nich już są polimeryzowane do tworzyw sztucznych (na przykład cukier przez kwas lakcydowy).

Po drugie, chciałbym zwrócić jeszcze uwagę (jeszcze chwileczkę, Pani Przewodnicząca) na problemy związane z odpadami w morzach. Wydaje mi się, że tego nie zrobimy tylko jako Unia Europejska i państwa członkowskie. Musimy współpracować tutaj z naszymi sąsiadami. Przykładem jest Morze Śródziemne – bez współpracy z Bliskim Wschodem i Afryką nie jesteśmy w stanie zapobiec tym zanieczyszczeniom, w szczególności jeżeli chodzi o mikroplastiki.


  Daciana Octavia Sârbu (S&D). – Doamnă președintă, domnule comisar, salut publicarea Strategiei privind materialele plastice. Aș vrea să fac o observație referitoare la costuri. În strategie afirmați că se irosesc anual între 70 și 105 miliarde de euro prin deșeuri din plastic nereciclate. Vă referiți și la pagubele provocate la nivelul mediului prin deșeuri marine sau arderea deșeurilor din plastic.

Însă trebuie să vorbim și despre costurile la nivelul sănătății. În fiecare an, sunt generate milioane de tone de deșeuri din plastic cu impact poluant asupra mediului și care sunt dificil, dacă nu imposibil de eliminat. Care sunt riscurile asupra sănătății produse de fragmentele minuscule de plastic ce pot fi găsite acum în aer, în apa potabilă, în unele alimente pe care le consumăm? Conform strategiei, Comisia se va asigura că microparticulele de plastic intră sub incidența legislației privind substanțele chimice. E un pas important, dar s-ar putea să nu fie suficient. Uniunea Europeană nu a făcut suficiente progrese în ceea ce privește cercetarea și reducerea expunerii cetățenilor la substanțe toxice, deși are obligația de a face acest lucru potrivit celui de Al șaptelea program de acțiune pentru mediu.


  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). – Madam President, excuse me, I didn’t hear how much time I have. Sorry. Thank you. I shall be quick then. I would just like to say that in 2002, Ireland introduced a plastic bag levy and there was an immediate 90% reduction in the use of plastic bags. So Member States can do things themselves. That’s the good news. The bad news is that my country is one of the largest producers of plastic waste in the European Union, so we’ve got a lot of work to do.

We need to talk about China and its decision not to take our dirty plastic anymore. I’ve tried to find out from the industry where it is going to go. I wonder, do the Commissioners know? This is an immediate and real problem for us. It seems to me that we’re moving from landfills to sea fills, and that’s really serious because of the impact on our ecosystems. Therefore, this strategy is vital, and I thank both Commissioners for being here this evening to present it. It has got to work. We have an immediate concern around illegal dumping, I took a walk in the countryside at the weekend and I was disgusted with what I saw around me. A French colleague saw my pictures on Twitter and shared her experiences, so we need to tackle that in the Member States.

There is one area where we are encouraging people to use the internet to buy goods and services. However, when it comes to buying products, we all know that the amount of packaging that comes through our post, or otherwise, with internet sales is enormous, and we are not talking about it. My young children buy things on the internet and I have more waste as a result. This is something we’ve got to talk about and deal with, or the mountains will rise.


Elnökváltás: JÁRÓKA LÍVIA
alelnök asszony


  Christel Schaldemose (S&D). – Fru formand! Det er rigtigt glædeligt, at vi nu har en plastikstrategi for EU. Den indeholder en masse gode målsætninger og intentioner. Plastik skal reguleres bedre, og særligt affaldet er et kæmpeproblem, som vi nu tager ansvar for. 2030-målsætningerne med høje krav om genbrug og genanvendelse er derfor helt rigtige. EU bliver førende i verden, og strategien er både tiltrængt, nødvendig og god. Så tak for det! Men jeg må også sige til Kommission, at I skuffer en smule her ved ikke at tage fat hurtigere! Jeg synes, I skulle have præsenteret 3-4 lovforslag sammen med strategien. I ved udmærket godt, at vi her i det europæiske lovgivningsmaskineri ikke arbejder særligt hurtigt, så der vil gå flere år, før lovgivningen er på plads. Så lov os, at I overholder tidsfristerne, og lov os, at I kommer med noget så hurtigt som muligt. Vi bliver nødt til at handle nu!


  Nicola Caputo (S&D). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, la strategia sulla plastica dell'Unione europea è un primo e importante passo per combattere uno dei drammi che caratterizzano la nostra civiltà, ossia la plastica, il terzo materiale più diffuso sulla Terra dopo acciaio e cemento.

Dagli anni '50 ad oggi, con l'avvio della grande diffusione dell'uso della plastica, sono stati prodotti 8,3 miliardi di tonnellate di plastica e ne sono stati gettati in natura circa 6,3 miliardi. Le iniziative che la Commissione intende mettere in campo sono tutte condivisibili. Molto altro però si potrebbe fare, e forse si può anche accorciare l'arco temporale della strategia, considerato che il 2030 non è poi così vicino.

Ma ciò che mi preme rilevare è il dato politico dell'iniziativa: l'Unione europea certifica, finalmente, al massimo livello di autorevolezza istituzionale, che il problema della plastica esiste e che va affrontato seriamente. Come già accaduto in passato per altri elementi della politica ambientale, questa posizione dell'Unione europea costringerà anche altre aree del mondo a confrontarsi con il problema procedendo nella stessa direzione, confermando che l'Unione europea sa esercitare la propria leadership mondiale in materia ambientale.


„Catch the eye” eljárás


  José Inácio Faria (PPE). – Senhora Presidente, Senhores Vice-Presidentes, caros Colegas, gostaria de começar por saudar a Comissão pelo lançamento da primeira estratégia europeia para os plásticos e os esforços de harmonização da defesa e proteção do ambiente, com o crescimento económico e com a inovação que ela traduz.

Todos sabemos que a sociedade humana é largamente dependente do plástico. Mais de 70% dos nossos produtos que utilizamos no nosso dia-a-dia são feitos à base de materiais compostos de plásticos. A realidade é que nós, europeus, geramos 25 milhões de toneladas de resíduos de plásticos por ano, dos quais menos de 70% são recolhidos para reciclagem, acabando o restante nos nossos oceanos, contaminando tudo à sua passagem, pondo em perigo a própria sustentabilidade do planeta.

A necessidade de apostar na reciclagem e no design, Senhores Vice-Presidentes, não é suficiente. Há também que mudar os comportamentos, mudar a cultura do descartável ao nível da produção e do consumo, estimulando o uso de materiais duráveis e reutilizáveis. Caros Colegas, é uma evidência que a sociedade atual é infelizmente plástico-dependente. Por isso entendo que nos cabe a todos nós criar as condições para que essa dependência termine a favor de um ambiente mais sustentável.

Termino dizendo, Senhores Vice-Presidentes, como disse o Sr. Vice-Presidente Timmermans, se não mudarmos a forma como produzimos e utilizamos os objetos de plástico em 2050 haverá mais plástico do que peixe nos nossos oceanos.


  Doru-Claudian Frunzulică (S&D). – Madam President, while acknowledging that plastic is an important material for our economy and daily lives, serious threats emerge when plastics end up in the environment, especially in the oceans and in the seas, where they have an impact on nature, the climate and human health. Therefore, we have to bring strong capabilities in order to tackle this worrying issue and to frame a robust strategy for improving the economics, quality and rate of plastic recycling and reuse, especially when plastic production is expected to almost quadruple by 2050.

I therefore fully welcome the first ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics, which would ensure that the design and production of plastics and plastic products fully match the use, repair and recycling needs, and that more sustainable materials are developed and promoted, while laying the foundations for a new plastic economy and bringing new opportunities for innovation, competitiveness and job creation. In my personal opinion, ladies and gentlemen, Vice-President of the Commission, the European Union has to ban the plastic bags within a very short period of time.


  Νότης Μαριάς (ECR). – Κύριε Timmermans και κυρία Katainen, η ευρωπαϊκή στρατηγική για τα πλαστικά πραγματικά είναι μία ενδιαφέρουσα πρωτοβουλία, η οποία συνδυάζει την προστασία του περιβάλλοντος με τις δυνατότητες ανακύκλωσης και, ταυτόχρονα, την ένταξη της βιομηχανίας πλαστικών στην κυκλική οικονομία. Επιπλέον, προστατεύει την αλιεία και τον τουρισμό που είναι ιδιαίτερα σημαντικοί για την Ελλάδα, η οποία έχει χιλιάδες νησιά, όπως γνωρίζετε, και τα οποία απαιτούν να έχουν ακόμη πιο καθαρές ακτές και θέλουμε και πιο καθαρές θάλασσες. Στην Ελλάδα ήδη άρχισε η διαδικασία και επιβάλλονται, από αρχές του χρόνου 0,03 ευρώ για κάθε πλαστική σακούλα συν 24% ΦΠΑ. Το κράτος προσπαθεί «να βγάλει από τη μύγα ξίγκι», όπως λέμε. Το ποσό αυτό θα φτάσει τα 0,09 ευρώ από την 1η Ιανουαρίου του 2019. Όμως, στη στρατηγική μας πρέπει να υπάρξει ο στόχος να ενισχυθούν οι επιχειρήσεις, προκειμένου να μπορέσουν να περάσουν στην κυκλική οικονομία και αυτό αφορά τουλάχιστον 200 μικρομεσαίες επιχειρήσεις στην Ελλάδα και 12.000 εργαζόμενους.


  Gesine Meissner (ALDE). – Frau Präsidentin, liebe Vizepräsidenten, liebe Kollegen! Bei der Our-Ocean-Konferenz in Malta stand ein riesengroßer Albatros aus Plastik direkt vor dem Veranstaltungsgebäude – Herr Timmermans, Sie haben es gesehen –, genau aus der Menge Plastik, die pro Sekunde ins Meer kommt – das war erschreckend. Prinz Charles, einer der Sprecher, sprach davon: plastic is now on our menu. Dann war da ein indischer Aktivist, der forderte dazu auf, dass wir keine Strohhalme mehr benutzen sollten – alles gute Ideen. Auch eine gute Idee ist, dass wir die Revision der Hafenauffangrichtlinie haben. Es gibt aber viel mehr, was man einfach besprechen muss.

Ich war vor kurzem in einem Wettbewerb zur Kreislaufwirtschaft für junge Menschen. Dort war eine junge Frau, die aus Plastikmüll aus dem Meer Möbel entwickelt. Ich kenne einen Journalisten in Deutschland – einen Familienvater –, der hat seinen Journalismus an den Nagel gehängt und entwickelt jetzt ein Verbrauchersiegel für plastikfreie Konsumgüter. Davon gibt es ja eine ganze Menge: bei Kosmetik, bei Kleidung – wir müssen es nur nach vorne bringen. Wir können im Europäischen Parlament zum Beispiel zusehen, dass wir keine Plastikflaschen mehr verwenden.

Eine Sache noch: Es gibt von der G7 noch eine große Plastikausstellung. Ich habe mit mehreren Kollegen aus dem Parlament Unterschriften gesammelt. Wenn alles klappt, haben wir diese Ausstellung im April in Brüssel vor unserem Parlament. Schon jetzt – falls es klappt – fordere ich Sie auf, das wir uns dort alle wiedertreffen.


  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL). – Senhora Presidente, o mercado e a sua sacralização impuseram práticas e comportamentos irracionais insustentáveis no que se refere à utilização de bens descartáveis, demonstrando um enorme desrespeito e desprezo mesmo pelos limites físicos do planeta.

É fundamental que a produção e utilização de produtos descartáveis e inúteis sejam reduzidas, mas não vamos lá com as abordagens de mercado preconizadas pela Comissão Europeia ou com os chamados instrumentos económicos. A aplicação do princípio do poluidor-pagador, que significa reservar o direito de poluir a quem o possa pagar, não torna essa poluição menos lesiva pelo facto de alguém, neste caso os consumidores, pagarem por ela.

Nada impede que seja pura e simplesmente posto um ponto final na distribuição, paga ou não, de sacos de plástico desnecessários e não biodegradáveis. Que se ataque a proliferação de embalagens não necessárias e que se estimule as embalagens reutilizáveis pelo distribuidor retirando o seu custo do consumidor, mais, fazendo com que deixe de constituir um custo, quer económico, quer ambiental. É que, na hierarquia de gestão de resíduos, antes da reciclagem vem mesmo a redução.


  Igor Šoltes (Verts/ALE). – Torej, plastika postaja vse večji uničevalec našega planeta. Evropejci na leto odvržemo kar 25 milijonov ton plastičnih odpadkov, manj kot 30 % pa se jih reciklira. Plastika za enkratno uporabo predstavlja polovico odpadkov na morju in obali in kot smo lahko slišali, do leta 2050 naj bi bilo v morju več plastike kot rib. Po nekaterih ocenah zaradi plastičnih vrečk letno pogine okoli milijarda živali. To je le nekaj grozljivih podatkov, ki opozarjajo na resnost posledic plastičnih odpadkov.

Nekateri krizo onesnaževanja s plastiko povezujejo in primerjajo celo s podnebnimi spremembami. No, in končno je Evropska komisija predstavila strategijo za boj proti plastičnim odpadkom, ki jo je treba pozdraviti in se truditi, da bi bila čim bolj ambiciozna, in seveda pozdravljam predloge, ki so usmerjeni v zmanjšanje porabe plastike in spodbujanje reciklaže.

Naš odnos do planeta, na katerem živimo, je zares obsojanja vreden, zato je potrebna naša streznitev, ker če imamo zdaj že mikroplastiko v vodi in soli in v zraku, smo pred resno preizkušnjo v prihodnosti.


  Dubravka Šuica (PPE). – Gospođo predsjednice, želim čestitati Komisiji na ovom prijedlogu. Mislim da na dnevni red rijetko dolazi točka koja nas ovoliko ujedinjuje kao što nas je ujedinila ova Vaša strategija za plastiku.

Budući da kažu da slika govori više od tisuću riječi, ja želim danas ovom slikom pokazati plastično smeće koje je zapljusnulo južnu obalu Hrvatske, odnosno grad Dubrovnik, čija sam ja još uvijek stanovnica i nekadašnja gradonačelnica. Dakle grad, koji je pod zaštitom UNESCO-a, pod plastičnim je smećem iz susjednih država koje žele biti kandidatkinje za Europsku uniju.

Stoga, koristim prigodu apelirati na Komisiju i na sve nas da, kad dođe do poglavlja koja se odnose na zaštitu okoliša, budemo strogi. Postoji niz konvencija, postoji Barcelonska konvencija i mnoge direktive. Međutim, ove zemlje se toga ne pridržavaju. Stoga je ovo jedinstvena prigoda da se konačno svi zamislimo nad svojom sudbinom.

Slažem se oko svih dosadašnjih izjava ovdje vezanih uz smeće i plastiku. Da se ne ponavljamo, ali postrožimo pravila, donesimo propise. Dakle, strategija da, ali što brže s direktivama i što brže s regulativama koje će nas sve još više ujediniti i osloboditi ove pošasti koja definitivno ima utjecaj na ljudsko zdravlje.


  Karin Kadenbach (S&D). – Frau Präsidentin, meine Herren Präsidenten! Ich darf Ihnen danken für diese Strategie, die Sie uns präsentiert haben. Denn zwischen plastic is fantastic und ban on all plastics ist ein weiter Weg. Das, was Sie uns hier vorgeschlagen haben, ist ein sehr ausbalancierter Zugang. Wir wollen auf Plastik nicht verzichten. Ich glaube, Plastik wird auch in Zukunft seinen Platz in unserem Leben haben. Aber der zum Teil gedankenlose und häufig auch sehr verantwortungslose Umgang mit Plastik in unserer Gesellschaft, in unserer Wirtschaft, hat Plastik und die Produkte, die daraus entstehen, zu einer Bedrohung für Gesundheit, Umwelt und Menschen gemacht.

Mit dieser Strategie soll erreicht werden, dass auf der einen Seite eine sichere Produktion stattfindet, dass Wiederverwertung und Wiederverwendung der Produkte für Mensch, Umwelt und Gesundheit sinnvoll und wünschenswert sind, und dass auf der anderen Seite jene Produkte, die dem Begriff der Nachhaltigkeit nicht gerecht werden, vom Markt verschwinden. Dazu gehören für mich natürlich auch alle microplastics. Ich darf Sie ersuchen, in diesem Sinne so schnell wie möglich wirklich aktiv zu werden, damit wir baldigst auch legislation haben.


(A „catch the eye” eljárás vége)


  Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission. – Madam President, I can be brief. Seldom in my three years in this Parliament have I experienced such a unity of purpose.

Everyone agrees that we need to do something; perhaps not everyone agrees on the measures we need to take or the speed with which we will do it. But let me give you one guarantee: this Commission will try everything it can to put on your table legislative proposals in those areas where we can come up with legislation. We’ve already started with REACH on micro-plastics in cosmetics, paints and in detergents, but sometimes we need more analysis. How are we going to deal with micro-plastics coming out of tyres on cars or coming out of our clothes when we wash them?

These are complicated things and we want to make sure we get the science right before we put legislation on the table. And as far as packaging is concerned, we will be extremely ambitious and we will come up with legislation, and we want this to happen very quickly. But we’ve also seen that the unity of purpose in this room is shared by industry: by and large they want to be part of this. They know they need to be part of this.

We need to create the circumstances for them to be part of it and for it to become a profitable business. But I believe that plastics will continue to have a huge role in our society. I’m not an enemy of plastics. Plastics can be fantastic if they’re the right plastics, and we need to get the science right. That’s why we’re putting EUR 100 million extra into research through Horizon 2020.

So I see the message you gave to us today as a strong endorsement for this Commission to continue along this path. This is what we will do – and this is a promise I make on behalf of all of us – we will make proposals for legislation where we can. But we will not rush into things, especially if we haven’t got the science right yet or if we can still wait for industry to do its part.

If industry won’t do its part we will step in. But I have the feeling that given the sense of urgency that is shared by industry, we will be able to do a lot of things together as well.

If we do this in a holistic way, if it is part of our circular economy, if it is part of the fourth industrial revolution and the benefits it brings, we will lead in the world and make sure that the health of our children and grandchildren will not suffer and our environment will not suffer more than it already does as a result of the waste of plastics.



  Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the Commission. – Madam President, thank you very much for your strong support. This debate made me really happy, and I do believe that we can deliver. Thank you very much for the ideas.

I have four points: firstly, why do recycled plastics not account for more than 6% of the entire volume of plastics used? It is because we don’t have European-wide quality standards for recycled plastic, and this we will change. We need a single market tool for recycled plastics.

Why don’t we recycle more packaging waste, plastic bags and waste? Because there are too many different types of plastics used for packaging. So that’s why we want to change this. We need quality standards and other standards in order to create a more harmonised approach for producing plastic packages. This enables us to create a single market. These two measures enable us to create a well-functioning single market for plastics.

Secondly, we also need to look at the regulatory framework for biodegradable and compostable plastics. You are right that bio products can be an alternative source for producing more sustainable plastics, but we need to get this regulatory framework right. Our consumers must also know that you cannot mix biodegradable plastics with oil-based plastics, otherwise recycling is impossible. So we have to encourage or empower consumers.

Thirdly, we certainly need more innovations. Horizon 2020 has already financed plastic-related innovations worth EUR 250 million during this period, and an additional 100 million will be made available. Furthermore, FC and structural funds can provide public financing. But even more money is available in private sector if the regulatory environment is right, and that’s why we have to concentrate on this part of our work.

Fourthly, on China. I must say that I could not blame China at all when they decided to ban plastic waste imports. I must congratulate them. It’s actually a good incentive for Europe to find solutions, sustainable solutions. How to deal with plastic waste. It puts pressure on us, but it also create incentives. It will change the market, and this is what we need: a sustainable market where profit is coming from more sustainable behaviour. Finally, thank you once again very much for an excellent discussion.



  Elnök asszony. – A vitát lezárom.

Írásbeli nyilatkozatok (162. cikk)


  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), par écrit. – En septembre dernier, la Commission européenne a présenté sa stratégie industrielle pour permettre aux entreprises européennes d’être plus compétitives. Parmi les objectifs affichés figure la volonté de recycler massivement et efficacement les matières plastiques en Europe. Le taux de recyclage au sein de l’UE atteint uniquement 22 %, un niveau jugé trop bas. Une nouvelle stratégie est donc indispensable, non seulement pour encourager les bonnes pratiques mais aussi pour solutionner les difficultés rencontrées par le secteur de l’industrie du plastique. Nous le savons, les obstacles à un meilleur recyclage sont essentiellement techniques et économiques. En effet, il existe un écart de coût entre les plastiques vierges et les plastiques recyclés, qui se font au détriment de ces derniers. Par ailleurs, la récente décision de la Chine d’interdire l’importation de certains déchets plastiques venus d’Europe nous offre une réelle opportunité de créer les conditions d’un marché intérieur pour les matières recyclées. La mise en place d’un tel marché nécessitera également des investissements dans les infrastructures de recyclage du plastique dont le coût devrait être porté à la fois par les entreprises et les autorités publiques. Oui, nous avons besoin de plastiques, mais des plastiques de qualité et recyclables.


  Tunne Kelam (PPE), in writing. – Eight million tons of plastic end up in the sea every year; 80% of litter in the oceans is plastic; 85% of beach litter is plastic. According to UN estimates, by 2050 practically 100% of seabirds will have ingested plastic, and around 600 marine species will be harmed by plastic. I welcome the Commission’s strategy to address the usage of plastic in Europe, where 25 million tons of plastic waste is generated every year, of which only 30% is collected for recycling. Whereas this strategy is a step in right direction, it still fails to target the problem as a whole. The EC strategy focuses primarily on circular economy, on developing bio-degradable and reusable plastic. We eat plastic, we breathe in plastic in the environment. Plastic is everywhere. It should be a European goal to dramatically reduce the usage of plastic to a minimum, especially when it comes to packaging. It is not enough merely to ban single-use plastic bags. I call on the Commission to go far beyond its current proposal and offer a vision of a plastic-free Europe. We need an ambitious goal to save the next generation from drowning in a new ocean of waste.


  Davor Škrlec (Verts/ALE), napisan. – Europska komisija još uvijek nije isporučila obvezujuća pravila u kontekstu Strategije o plastici Europske unije. U sadašnjem i budućem gospodarstvu Europske unije ne smije biti mjesta za jednokratnu plastiku. Takva plastika – njezina proizvodnja, upotreba i odlaganje, osim toga što je ekološki nesigurna i što je njezin učinak na zdravlje građana još uvijek nepoznat, također je protivna potencijalima kružne ekonomije. Kako bi se ti potencijali u potpunosti iskoristili, proizvodi ne smiju sadržavati toksične supstance kakve se nalaze npr. u jednokratnim plastičnim vrećicama i drugim plastičnim proizvodima.

Europa svake godine proizvodi 25 milijuna tona plastičnog otpada, od čega se manje od 30 % reciklira. Također, čak 85 % otpada na plažama čini plastika, ukoliko govorimo o svjetskoj razini. Europska komisija, stoga, treba što prije uključiti odgovarajuće planove o snažnim mjerama za ograničavanje otrovnih i opasnih tvari koje se koriste u proizvodnji za okoliš štetne oxo-plastike i mikroplastike.

Iz tog razloga pozdravljam svaki budući napor Europske unije kojim se nastoji izbaciti toksične supstance iz proizvoda od plastike, smanjiti njihovu upotrebu te povećati razinu ponovnog iskorištavanja i recikliranja odgovarajućeg otpada.

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