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​Reducing Releases to the Environment of Microplastics

27 July 2017

Public consultation investigating options for reducing releases to the environment of microplastics. 

The European Commission launched a new public consultation to collect the views of stakeholders and citizens on the awareness and opinions on a burning issue of waste microplastics that enter the marine environment.
When does this consultation end: 16 October 2017
Microplastics (or microbeads), tend to be smaller than 5mm and often much smaller, are commonly used in the beauty and cleaning products as well as industry abrasives. Microplastics are also an issue of the tyre and clothing industry, where polyester fibres, when washing, are released to the marine environment. Those plastic particles are so small, that they can easily pass the sewage water treatment plants and enter the marine environment, polluting the seas and affecting the food-chain.
So far, there is no or very little regulation on controlling the release of this type of waste to the environment. The Commission is considering the implementation of legal requirements to minimise or ban the use of plastic particles or fibres in certain industries and determine new methods of capturing and minimising the plastic runoff, such as Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS), new types of filters for washing appliances, improvements to vehicle tyres and more.
The Consultation also considers making manufacturers, distributors and logistics accountable for the release of microplastics and incentivise good practice.
The link to the consultation may be found here.
Source: Official Journal of the European Union