Reducing plastics' marine impact in EU

The new EU Directive 2019/904 is the first attempt at the European level to tackle the problem of plastic marine litter separately and in a structured manner. We're supporting the EU Commission prepare gand implement actions for Member States following the adoption of the new Directive.
Marine litter is recognised as a growing global problem. It is estimated that 80–85% of marine litter found on shorelines in the EU is plastic, with single-use plastic items representing 50% and fishing-related items representing 27% of the total.
Single-use plastics include a range of commonly used consumer products that are discarded after having been used once, in many cases are not recycled and often become litter. Another significant source of plastic pollution is fishing gear, which often is not properly collected after use and ends up in the marine environment.
The Directive includes measures focussed on products and areas where action is most needed. In particular, it focusses on products made from oxo-degradable plastic, fishing gear containing plastic and the single-use plastic items that represent approximately 86% the single-use plastic found on European beaches – for example, beverage cups, food containers intended for immediate consumption, cutlery, straws, sanitary towels, and wet wipes.
The Directive includes specific measures for different products, including plastic bans for certain products, consumption reduction targets, enhanced extended producer responsibility, collection targets, labelling requirements and awareness-raising.
Ramboll is helping prepare guidance and implementing acts
A team of experts led by Ramboll is supporting the European Commission in an 18-month project to prepare guidance documents and implementation actions for Member States following the adoption of the new Directive. Our work will also include developing and organising high-level workshops for representatives of the European Commission, Member State officials and key EU stakeholders from both industry and waste management.
Results of the study will include:
  • Definitions of what is to be considered a single-use plastic product for the purposes of the Directive
  • Proposals for the labelling of certain single-use products, including consumer testing
  • Methodologies for the calculation and verification of separate collection targets as well as ambitious and sustained reduction in the consumption of single-use plastic products
  • Proposals for reporting formats
  • Guidelines for criteria on the costs of cleaning up litter under the scheme of Extended Producer Responsibility
Supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
With this project, Ramboll is pioneering the implementation of a new EU-wide Directive which significantly contributes to curbing the negative economic, environmental and social impacts arising from plastic marine litter. The study supports achieving Sustainable Development Goals “12 – Responsible Consumption and Production”, “14 – Life Below Water”, and “15 – Life on Land”.

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