Comment by Minister of the Environment Karolina Skog on the European Commission’s new strategy on plastics

On the 16th of January 2018, the European Commission presented its European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy. The strategy aims to increase recycling of plastic, reduce microplastic emissions and reduce littering. It also aims to reduce the use of fossil raw materials in plastic production.

I welcome the fact that the European Commission has developed an EU-wide strategy on plastics. It is urgent to reduce the negative environmental impacts from plastics – a high priority issue for me and the Swedish government. The strategy covers many important areas.

I particularly welcome the fact that the strategy contains proposals that will limit the intentional use of microplastics in cosmetics and other products, which is an issue that Sweden has pushed for. Now I am calling for swift and concrete action from the European Commission.

I recently wrote a letter with the French Secretary of State for the Environment, Brune Poirson, to the European Commission. In the letter, we raised among other things the need for the EU to take responsibility for the recycling of plastic waste exported outside EU borders in a way that is safe for human health and the environment. In its strategy, the European Commission describes the importance of international efforts but we are now waiting for concrete proposals.

The Government of Sweden will now analyze the various proposals in the plastic strategy.