MEPs adopt proposals to boost recycling

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Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have adopted a non-binding draft report that sets out proposals that will boost recycling and reduce plastic pollution.  

Incentives to collect marine litter at sea, a new EU-wide standard and definition for biodegradability and composability, and a complete EU ban on oxo-degradable plastic by 2020 are among the initiatives set out in the draft.  

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MEPs have also advocated for a ban on micro-plastics in cosmetics and cleaning products by 2020 and suggested that member states also consider reducing the VAT on products containing recycled materials. 

The Parliament has said that a stable internal market for secondary raw materials is needed to ensure a transition towards a circular economy. 

From this, it has called on the EU Commission to propose quality standards in order to boost the market for secondary plastics, and to take into account various grades of recycling which are compatible with different uses.  

MEPs have also stressed that there are different ways to achieve high rates of separate collection and recycling for member states to choose from: extended producer responsibility schemes, deposit-refund schemes, and increased public awareness.  

However, they have proposed assessing if the existing EU-wide EPR on packaging should be extended to other types of plastic.  

MEP and author of the draft report Mark Demesmaeker said: “My report is not a plea against plastic, but a plea for a circular plastic economy, in which we deal with plastic in a sustainable and responsible way, so that we can stop its harmful effects and preserve the value in the chain. To succeed, we must use this strategy as a lever for circular production and consumption models. We need to deliver tailor-made solutions, as there are no passe-partout solutions. And we must work together across the entire value chain.” 

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