Plastic and politics

We are working towards an ambitious plastic policy for Denmark and the rest of the world

A big priority for Plastic Change is to influence decision-makers in Denmark, the EU and internationally to create an ambitious and effective legislation against plastic pollution. Initiatives raised by volunteers, environmental organizations and businesses can carry us far, but we will not reach our goal without political framework and regulations.

Plastic Change’s most important political issue is to make sure that prevention and reduction are at the top of the list when discussing how to get rid of the amounts of plastic waste. It is a misconception that we can clean the world’s oceans and recycle ourselves out of the plastic crisis.

It is expected that by 2050 the production of plastic will have quadrupled, while at the same time the plastic waste discharged into the aquatic environment will double before 2030. We have to focus on stopping the rising trend of plastic-use and pollution by reducing the amount of plastic in circulation and promoting recyclable solutions instead of the current ”throwaway” societal norms.

Break Free From Plastic
Plastic Change is a part of the international movement
Break Free From Plastic, a coalition with more than 1300 NGO worldwide all visioning a future without plastic pollution. Plastic Change is a member of the steering committee.

The Danish efforts

For several years Plastic Change has fought to get a Danish political strategy plan for the purpose of dealing with the growing plastic pollution. In cooperation with The Ecological Council and The Danish society for Nature Conservation we delivered our concrete proposal of political initiatives, amongst other things.  Finally, in February 2019 we succeeded at getting a unanimous parliament to support a national plastic plan of action containing 38 initiatives.

Plastic Change’s political efforts are directed towards:

  • Initiatives that ensure we reduce our plastic consumption in general.
  • Ensuring that types of plastic packaging are homogenized so it gains a higher value and can be recycled.
  • Significantly increasing the amount of plastic packaging being recycled in Denmark.
  • Further investments in the Danish deposit and return system, regarding development and expansion so it does not solely include drink containers.

Plastic Change in the EU

The EU’s plastic strategy is the world’s most ambitious attempt at a political effort against plastic pollution and how we transition to a circular plastic economy. Among other things the plan includes a list of general goals so all plastic packaging in the EU market is to be recycled before 2030, the consumption of single use products will be reduced and the use of microplastic will be limited.

In December of 2018, the EU succeeded at reaching an agreement about a single-use plastic directive with the purpose of reducing the amount of single-use plastic waste in nature. Plastic Change has through the Rethink Plastic Alliance fought for the legislation to be as ambitious as possible. It is first and foremost about the single-use plastic that ends up in the ocean and our nature. It is therefore imperative to have political regulations that limit that type of plastic.

The final legislative text includes, among other things:

  • A ban on a series of single-use products such as straws, plates, cutlery and packaging as well as cups made from Styrofoam.
  • A requirement that producers of certain plastic products have to pay the cost connected to declaration, clean-up and waste management of their products.
  • A set EU requirement that a minimum of 25% recycled plastic is to be used in new plastic bottles by 2025.

Furthermore, the European Commission is focusing on the reduction of microplastic from tires and shoe soles and will, among other things, set in motion the development of measuring methods of tire wear.

Unfortunately, an agreement has not been reached yet on a common and binding reduction target goal for the packaging and cups used in take-away meals. Furthermore, the requirement that all member countries have to collect a minimum of 90% of all plastic bottles has also been postponed from 2025 to 2029.

International political work

Plastic Change is working internationally to influence legislators through existing initiatives such as the Honolulu Strategy and Commitment, which Plastic Change has signed, and cooperation forums such as the UN’s Global program on Marine Litter (GPML), where Plastic Change is a partner.