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A plasticised future? – How Can the EU Tackle the Plastic Problem in its Entirety?

Online Debate (Zoom) – 16 February 2022,  14:30 – 16:00 CET

The aim of this event organised in the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe is to enrich the public debate on plastics as a global problem.
Although plastic is an important material in our daily life, its life cycle causes various and severe harm to human health and to nature, from raw material extraction, through the use of chemicals and the overconsumption of plastics, to poorly managed plastic waste world-wide. The data are alarming, with yearly production over 400 million tons in the world (more than 26 million of which in Europe), with half of it being used only once. Estimates are that 12 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans yearly (around 0.5 million of which from Europe) and that, if the pace continues, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.

Europe is trying to change the scenario with legislation and policies such as the Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, the Single-Use Plastics Directive, and the Directive about reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier
bags. Awareness in society is also rising, with 74% of EU citizens expressing disquiet at the health impact of plastics and 87% saying they are concerned about their environmental effects.

Key topics:

  • Framing the issue: aspects involved in the plastic problem (petrochemicals, toxics added, production, consumption, waste, recycling, incineration, human rights, etc.)
  • A potential global treaty on plastic and the role that Europe could/should play
  • Economic aspects involved in action to tackle plastics
  • Potential liability aspects within European law
  • Practical aspects of fighting plastic pollution
  • Efforts to clean up the oceans from plastic pollution

The debate will be opened by:

Giulia Carlini, Senior Attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
Michael G. Faure, Director of the Maastricht European Institute for Transnational Legal Research, Maastricht University
Jurjen de Waal , Plastic Waste Campaign Manager at Plastic Soup Foundation
Luisa Cortat, Course Director at the Academy of European Law

#TheFutureIsYours #ERAFutureofEurope

Supported by the European Union