A report by ECR MEP Mark Demesmaeker that makes a series of firm recommendation on dealing with plastic waste was adopted by an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament today.

The report highlights the need not only for an increase in recycling, but also the quality of recycling and in turn the creation of a genuine internal market for recycled plastic. Further efforts must be made to reduce waste in the first place, where the research and innovation could play a signifant role in helping businesses and individuals cut waste.

Speaking after the vote, Demesmaeker said: “The way in which plastic is produced today that sees it used only once before being thrown away is totally unsustainable. On top of this, of the almost 26 million tonnes of plastic waste produced in the EU each year, barely 30% is collected for recycling. This has a disastrous impact on the environment, the climate and the economy. Our seas and oceans are turning into a plastic soup.

“We recycle far too little, meaning we miss out on numerous opportunities to reduce CO2 emissions. We are literally letting euros leak out of our economy because value is not kept in the chain. We have to change course.

Demesmaeker considers the recent Chinese ban on the import of plastic waste an opportunity for the EU: “The momentum is now here to create a circular plastic economy. For years in Europe we have outsourced our plastic waste problem for the sake of convenience. The challenge now is to deal with plastic in a smart and sustainable way in order to prevent unnecessary waste and create a genuine value chain.”