Evidence from beach litter monitoring in Europe and globally has shown that plastic items which are designed to be single-use are also those most commonly escaping waste treatment systems to pollute the environment. Seas At Risk commits to promoting regulation for these most damaging and unnecessary items, by studying the extent of their consumption in Europe and advocating for solutions and alternatives. These kinds of single-use items are often unnecessary, non-recyclable, and are easily replaced with sustainable alternatives. Apart from plastic bags, which are now often legislated against, the other most commonly found marine debris items are escaping regulatory action, and remain a common part of daily life.
Beach litter monitoring in all of the European coastal areas has demonstrated that the predominant class of items washing up on beaches is lightweight, single-use plastic. All of these items are preventable: there are alternatives available, and small changes by consumers and businesses could result in a huge reduction of waste generation, and in the input of plastic to the oceans.
While the solution to this plastic pollution seems simple, efforts to regulate are hampered by a gap in our understanding of the extent of their usage. There is little readily available data related to these products, meaning policy makers at the municipal, national and European scale find it difficult to implement measures to reduce their use. We commit to funding a study into this fraction of waste, using data that is available to estimate the European consumption figures of the items most frequently found on beaches. Along with this, we will also explore best practices that exist to avoid these items becoming plastic pollution. The aim is that an improved understanding of the level of unnecessary plastics used, and the methods available for avoiding them will encourage businesses and legislators to take action for the sake of the environment.
Communication of study results to wide range of stakeholders, including event for European policy makers, factsheets for individual European countries, global dissemination of study results and best practices.
Study results launched, including estimations of consumptions figures for single-use plastic items most frequently used on-the go and also featuring commonly as marine litter in Europe.