The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union yesterday announced that they have reached agreement on new measures aimed at tackling marine litter at its source.
Commenting on the agreement, EuroCommerce, which represents the retail and wholesale sector in Europe, said that while these measures are necessary, it has doubts as to whether they will have the desired effect.
Its concerns are centred in particular on extended producer responsibility for cleaning up litter and paying for the infrastructure and operation of collection systems.
“Our sector’s commitment to sustainable use of plastics is absolutely clear, and we will continue to do all we can to respond to our customers’ demand for safe and sustainable products." Commented EuroCommerce director general Christian Verschueren.
"We will of course observe the legislation, but must warn that there are elements which expect retailers to take responsibility for issues such as littering over which they can only have limited influence.”
The new measures build on the Single-use plastics proposal presented in May by the European Commission, target 10 plastic products most often found on beaches and in the ocean.
These include plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers, sticks for balloons, products made of oxo-degradable plastic and food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene.
"This agreement truly helps protect our people and our planet," commented Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans. "Europeans are conscious that plastic waste is an enormous problem and the EU as a whole has shown true courage in addressing it, making us the global leader in tackling plastic marine litter.
"Equally important is, that with the solutions agreed upon today, we are also driving a new circular business model and showing the way forward to putting our economy on a more sustainable path."
Following the agreement, the measures will need to be formally approved by the European Parliament and Council.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.