To mark the World Environment Day on 5 June 2018, which this year has the theme ”Beat Plastic Pollution’, the European Commission has launched a public awareness-raising campaign to highlight citizens’ role in combating plastic pollution and marine litter. The campaign stresses the importance of consumption choices in the effort to make plastic products in the EU more durable, reusable and recyclable. This campaign comes 10 days after the Commission presented a proposal for new legislation to tackle marine litter at its source, targeting the 10 plastic products that most often end up in the oceans, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear.

43% of all marine litter polluting our oceans is made up of just 10 types of single-use plastic items; food containers, take-away beverage cups and lids, cotton buds, cutlery (including plates, stirrers and straws), balloons and balloon sticks, packets and wrappers, beverage bottles, cigarette butts, sanitary products, and carrier bags. As soon as we’re finished using these items, they often end up in the natural world; washed up on beaches or submerged in our oceans. This litter negatively impacts ecosystems, biodiversity – and even human health.

This can’t continue. We need to be ready to change the way we think about single-use plastic.

The campaign launched today focuses on the impact that different kinds of single-use plastics cause, highlighting sustainable, available and affordable alternatives that form the key to tackling the problem.

It focuses on different categories of single-use plastics items, including cotton buds, carrier bags, coffee cups and their lids, straws, cutlery, lollipop sticks and sweet wrappers, and plastic bottles.

The campaign is aimed at young, dynamic adults who are always on-the-go. As demonstrated by a number of reports, studies and opinion polls, including a Eurobarometer survey, the vast majority of this group is well aware of, and concerned by, the environmental impact of single-use plastics, and the health-related risks caused by plastic waste and marine litter. But despite the level of awareness among the target audience, this does not translate into their daily choices: they continue to enjoy their take-away coffees and use straws in their drinks.

The single-use plastic campaign includes:

– a video, which challenges the common perception of single-use plastics as convenient items, and serves as the invitation to learn more about the campaign;
– sharable social media content presenting the ‘seductive’ powers of single-use plastic items – their courtship rituals – and offering tips and advice on how to resist their powers of attraction;
– an informative web platform, which serves as the heart of the campaign and provides an overview of EU actions and initiatives that address plastics;

The PR section of the campaign provides elements such as a press pack, relevant visuals and factsheets.

The campaign is addressing all Europeans, with many elements in all official EU languages. It has a special focus on the following target EU Member States; Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain, and all materials are available in the languages of these countries.

The single-use plastic initiative is part of the EU’s broader Circular Economy agenda, including the world’s first Plastics Strategy: an EU-wide drive to increase awareness about plastic waste and our transition towards a more sustainable, circular economy. The awareness-raising campaign has been launched to accompany and promote new measures to tackle the problem at its root cause, including reduction and collection targets, obligations for producers, and awareness-raising measures.

Source: European Commission