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The European Union’s efforts to slash microplastic pollution finally moved forward, as the European Parliament adopted its position on the Proposal for a Regulation aimed at preventing pellet losses to reduce microplastic pollution. This positive vote comes at a time when plastics are in focus on the international stage, as global plastic treaty negotiations resume, and just after Earth Day’s plastic focus on Monday, 22 April.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) met in Strasbourg to approve the proposal, which is urgently needed to reduce the risk of pellet spills and hold plastic producers, transporters, converters and recyclers and all other actors involved accountable for pellet leaks across the plastic supply chain.

The new regulation includes binding minimum requirements for all carriers and operators, with an expanded scope that includes maritime shipping. On average, 1,566 cargo containers are lost at sea each year, making shipping a major cause of pellet spills globally. MEPs missed the opportunity to tighten the regulation by choosing to exempt businesses that handle less than 1,000 tonnes of pellets a year from mandatory certification, audits and staff training. Still, the text is a significant improvement from the European Commission’s initial voluntary prevention measures as well as any prior industry-led voluntary initiatives.

More details: here.

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