Since we learned how to produce plastic, humans have manufactured more than 8.3 billion tons of it – most of which ended up as a waste product, somewhere on the planet. This leads plastic waste to enter the landscape, rivers, beaches, and eventually ocean. We asked our listeners what, in their opinion, is the issue with plastic pollution. The answers ranged from negative impacts on human health and the environment to lack of recycling infrastructure and the global dimension of the plastics problem.
So how can we possibly address a problem of this size? In the latest “Green Deal – Big Deal?” podcast episode, the host Ewa Iwaszuk and a guest co-host Linda Mederake from Ecologic Institute try to get to the bottom of the problem of plastic pollution, together with their interview guests Frieder Rubik (Institute for Ecological Economic Research) and Jean-Pierre Schweitzer (European Environmental Bureau) who share interesting information and perspectives regarding plastic pollution.
We discuss the European Green Deal policies on plastics but also business models and strategies that could move us closer towards a low-waste, circular economy. The episode breaks down the difference between bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics and we learn about some non-obvious ways through which microplastics end up in the environment. The episode also asks what role – if any - consumer choices can play in addressing the problem.
Relevant links & documents
- Article: Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made
- Article: Outside the Safe Operating Space of the Planetary Boundary for Novel Entities
- Too good to be true? A study of green claims on plastic products
- Position Paper: How can EU legislation tackle microplastic pollution
- #breakfreefromplastic Branded Audit Report 2021
- First Circular Economy Action Plan (2015)
- A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy
- So-called Single-Use Plastics Directive
- Circular Economy Action Plan (2020)
- Directive on port reception facilities
- A policy framework on bio-based biodegradable and compostable plastics
- Microplastics pollution – measures to reduce its impact on the environment
- Revision of the packaging and packaging waste directive
Would you like to learn more?
Are you interested in environmental issues or European policy? Would you like to understand what the European Green Deal is and how will it impact our lives in the years to come? Check out other episodes of our podcast.
Listening is nice, but not enough for you? You are in luck! In addition to the podcast series, we are organizing a series of eight online events, targeting young Europeans aged 18-35. Enter the dialogue with us and our invited experts. We are keen to hear your questions, suggestions and ideas and discuss them together.