Plastic pact: Europe adopts Dutch initiative to make all plastic packaging recyclable

Fifteen European countries and 66 companies have entered into a partnership committed to making all plastic packaging recyclable and suitable for reuse. The European Plastic Pact started when Dutch Environment Minister Stientje van Veldhoven made agreements with Dutch companies and then turned to her European colleagues to do the same. She is presenting the plan in Brussels on Friday, NOS reports.

In 2017, Europe produced nearly 65 million tons of plastic, 40 percent of which for packaging. Only 30 percent of plastic products are currently recyclable in Europe. Moreover, different types of plastic currently end up in one large pile, making sorting and recycling difficult.

"If we want to achieve the Paris climate goals, we need to look both at clean energy as well as clean raw materials," Van Veldhoven said to NOS. "Plastic is a special material. It keeps food fresh, but of course it should not contribute to the plastic soup.

The signatories also strive to reduce the use of plastic by at least 20 percent. The agreement takes effect in 2025. 

Environmental organization Greenpeace called the European Plastic Pact a missed chance. "It is too focused on recycling and not on the system change that we need to tackle this huge problem," a spokesperson said to the broadcaster. The disposable culture needs to go, according to Greenpeace - take your own water bottle and use packaging free products.