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Making the Link: Marine Litter and the Circular Economy

Ocean News

Seas At Risk will host an event in the European Parliament on the 4th of November to discuss the upcoming review of EU waste legislation and new proposals for a circular economy. The event will consist of two panel discussions and question and answer sessions with the audience. We hope to encourage policy makers to view this package as an opportunity to improve European’s lives for the future.

Marine litter is rapidly being recognized as a serious threat to our oceans, and many policy makers are actively working to find solutions. As the problem is too big and too diffuse to deal with in the marine environment, it must instead be stopped at the source.

Individual measures such as more bins on beaches, better waste reception facilities for ships and education campaigns are important, but the reality is that we need to change our society to tackle this problem. We need to implement a circular economy which designs-out waste from the system. A circular economy is one in which products are designed to be repaired, durable, and at the end of their life are recovered and recycled into new products. It means a society where single use products such as plastic bags and cups have no place, and everything is made to be reused. Packaging is kept to a minimum, with a focus on refillable containers. This kind of society will have benefits beyond reducing the amount of waste produced, and by default the amount that enters the oceans, it will also mean that Europe is more resource efficient, and not reliant on new materials being extracted.

In July the European Commission released a landmark Communication "Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe" to establish a common and coherent EU framework to promote the circular economy. This package includes a legislative proposal to review EU waste management targets, and a headline marine litter reduction target to encourage strong measures to complement the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, to date the only piece of EU legislation that directly addresses marine litter.

Click here to register for the free "Marine Litter and Circular Economy" seminar and see more details.

Project AWARE joined Seas at Risk on 5th June 2014 – an international network of NGOs working to protect and restore the health of the marine environment in Europe and the wider North East Atlantic. As a member, Project AWARE joins 21 additional member organizations from 14 countries to advocate for the ocean.

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