Plastics, Marine Litter and the Circular Economy

AUTHORS: Patrick ten Brink-Jean-Pierre Schweitzer-Emma Watkins-Maeve Howe-Susanna Gionfra

Plastic waste is a major driver of marine litter, and results in a number of significant and avoidable socio-economic and environmental negative externalities. This policy briefing aims to frame marine plastic litter in the context of the drive towards a circular economy in Europe. As well as identifying the costs associated with this form of pollution, the briefing identifies circular economy tools which can be used to address marine litter. In addition, IEEP has produced three product fiches, providing easily communicable tools on particularly problematic plastic products relevant to industry, consumers and policy discussions:

– Microbeads: Plastics in personal care and cosmetics products 

– Polystyrene products 

– Single use plastics

A core objective of these four publications is to facilitate the inclusion of marine litter in the European Commission’s Strategy on Plastics in the Circular Economy, which is expected to be finalized in 2017. A road map in the briefing offers policy recommendations and actions for stakeholders at different governance levels.

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