15 October 2018 — SumOfUs
The EU’s legal net is closing in on plastic polluters like Coke and Nestlé — but there’s a hole that urgently needs to be fixed!
Tell the European Parliament to fix the plastic marine litter law before it’s too late.
The European Parliament Environment Committee just voted for a bunch of great changes to strengthen a law on plastic pollution — but they also added a dangerous loophole. We can influence this process now, and a strong EU law will reduce plastic pollution from our shores, no matter what happens with Brexit.
An honest mistake perhaps, or a gift to polluting corporations — MEPs agreed last Wednesday on a definition of “single-use plastic” that could allow polluters to simply market their throwaway polluting plastic products as reusable!
MEPs can propose more changes before they all vote on the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive on October 23. They must fix this massive mistake, and resist industry pressure to weaken the law.
We have less than ten days — but we can do this! We gathered a staggering 261,000 signatures in just over a week before the Environment Committee’s vote last Wednesday. Importantly also, the next European Parliament elections are in May 2019, which is close enough to make even traditionally pro-industry MEPs respond to public pressure.
Some of the Environment Committee’s changes to the proposed law are great. Food and drink containers made of expanded polystyrene, for example, were added to the list of polluting plastic products to be banned by 2021. They also want governments to finally make tobacco companies cover the costs of waste collection for their plastic packaging and cigarette butts, including transport, treatment and litter collection.
But it’s not only about saving seagulls or making polluters pay. The struggle against polluting plastics is the struggle against runaway climate change too. The International Energy Agency warned in a report on Monday, that the single most important driver of global oil demand growth in the next 10 to 15 years is petrochemicals — which is what 99% of plastics are made from.
MEPs need to ensure that any changes they make before the final October 23 vote are legitimate improvements to the rules, and not compromises for corporations. The risk now, is that pro-plastics MEPs will try to weaken the rules, especially the part about making the corporations pay, or will try to keep the definition of single-use plastic so narrow, that corporations can easily avoid the law.
We made headlines around the world this week with the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement and our petition to the Environment Committee. Thanks to SumOfUs members like you, I could also deliver our petition in Brussels before the committee’s vote with our partners, and we can pay for online ads across Europe targeting MEPs, their staff and constituents.
This EU Single-Use Plastics law is challenging almost every polluting industry out there, from Big Oil to Big Tobacco. They literally have billions of dollars to spend on lobbying. Still — united together, and with our friends and networks, we can still defeat those corporations, and help secure a law to turn the tide on plastic pollution.
Thanks for all that you do,
Eoin, David, Wiebke and the team at SumOfUs