There is "urgent work to do", EU Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans told delegates at the Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference in Brussels on Tuesday. Referring to China's decision to limit imports of plastic waste, Mr Timmermans said "we need to be careful when we do all these things that we convince our citizens to be part of it, to do this extra work in selecting waste. And we would undermine the whole process if at the end of the day, after all the selection, everything ends up together in the furnace somewhere".
However, Mr Timmermans did offer solutions for the current glut of certain grades of plastics and other waste materials on the European market. With a view to the EU plastics strategies, he said that he is " increasingly confident that business will work with us, and amongst themselves. If you can improve the dialogue across the value chain, support the uptake of recycled content, develop and promote existing alternative products, and keep innovating, we will find ways to re-use and recycle more plastic and avoid micro-plastic leakage."
The plastics strategy includes the introduction of a ban on certain types of single-use plastic products which make up a large share of beach litter. According to Mr Timmermans, the Commission aims to table a legislative proposal on these products by the end of May this year.