Europe can lead the world in transforming plastic waste into valuable new products, an EU Commissioner said today.

Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment Maritime Affairs & Fisheries, took part in yesterday’s EU beach clean up, joining others at Blankenberge beach in Belgium.

Talking about the experience, he said: “The prevalence of single use plastics and of waste fishing gear was notable and this demonstrates that work needs to be done to protect our seas and oceans.”

He continued: “There is huge potential for turning plastic waste into new products and materials, here in Europe. Making all plastic packaging reusable or recyclable by 2030, is one way of improving the economics and quality of plastic recycling, and transforming opportunities into realities.”

Looking ahead to the G7 Summit later in the year, the EU Commissioner said world leaders “will discuss how to make the plastics sector more ‘circular’ and prevent plastic littering the oceans.”

He added: “A ‘G7 Plastics Charter’ would contribute to better plastic production, consumption and disposal, in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 and the EU Plastics Strategy. Both support the implementation of SDG 14 on oceans. And I am particularly happy that – for the first time – oceans themselves will figure prominently on the agenda of the G7.”