A draft version of the European Commission’s Plastics Strategy obtained by POLITICO has no mention of the plastic tax proposed by Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger last week.
The Commission will release the final version of the strategy at 3:30 p.m. today.
The strategy aims to create common rules for biodegradable and compostable plastics, restrict the use of oxo-plastics — plastics that are supposed to be biodegradable, but which critics say break up into tiny pieces and leak into the environment— as well as restricting the use of microplastics in products like cosmetics.
The strategy also commits the Commission to table legislative proposals by 2018 targeting single-use plastic items, such as coffee cups, based on the results of ongoing public consultations.
The EU executive will reopen the Waste Package agreed in December to propose that by 2030 all plastic packaging be reusable and recyclable.
The Commission will also come up with quality standards for plastic waste later this year. Currently, only 5 percent of plastic packaging is recovered. The rest, worth about €100 billion per year, is lost, according to the Commission.
The draft strategy did not include voluntary commitments from PlasticsEurope, the industry grouping. Those measures are due to be announced later today, but their absence from the strategy document is a sign that industry proposals were not endorsed by the Commission.
“At this moment, we know too little to be able to endorse any industry commitments,” said a Commission official. “Depending on their ambition, however, we will not exclude the possibility to endorse them in the future.”