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EU Commission Adopts New Measures to Prevent Plastic Pellet Losses and Combat Microplastic Pollution - Public Feedback Period Open Until December 18, 2023

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In response to the growing concern surrounding microplastic pollution and its environmental impacts, the European Commission has adopted a legislative proposal to address the issue of plastic pellet losses, which are a major source of unintentional microplastic releases into the environment.

The adopted proposal outlines a range of measures and obligations targeting economic operators and carriers involved in the handling and transportation of plastic pellets within the European Union. Its scope encompasses all entities handling plastic pellets in quantities exceeding five tonnes per year, both within and outside the EU.

Key Provisions of the Proposal

  • General Obligation: The proposal imposes a general obligation on economic operators, EU carriers, and non-EU carriers to prevent plastic pellet losses from the moment the Regulation takes effect. This is intended to ensure swift action to avoid environmental harm.

  • Compliance Requirements: Within 18 months of the Regulation's enactment, all economic operators, carriers, and non-EU carriers must adhere to the specified requirements. These actions are prioritized in the following sequence: prevention, containment, and cleanup following a loss event.

  • Detailed Compliance Requirements: The proposal sets out specific compliance requirements, drawing from industry standards like the Operation Clean Sweep® program and recommendations from the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR). These requirements include risk assessment planning, self-declaration of conformity, staff training, monitoring, record-keeping, and addressing significant pellet incidents.

  • Lighter Requirements for SMEs: To mitigate the impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the proposal introduces lighter requirements for those handling plastic pellets in quantities below 1000 tonnes per year. These encompass a longer validity period for self-declaration of conformity, no obligation for internal assessments, no requirement for formal management meetings to review compliance, and no need to establish an awareness and training program.

  • Medium-Sized Enterprises: Medium-sized enterprises handling plastic pellets in quantities exceeding 1000 tonnes per year will be subject to transitional periods and certificate validity periods tailored to their specific circumstances.

The European Commission has opened a public feedback period for this proposal, which runs from October 16, 2023, to December 18, 2023. This period allows stakeholders, organizations, and concerned citizens to provide input, comments, and suggestions to further refine the measures and ensure they effectively combat microplastic pollution.



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