The EU agrees to make litter prevention a priority in the decades to come
The official legal text still has to be rubber-stamped early next year, but it seems EU legislators have agreed significant measures to boost litter prevention across Europe just in time for the year-end celebrations.
To start with, tackling litter will now be a shared effort between competent authorities, producers and consumers. EU countries will have to have a national litter prevention strategy as an integral part of national waste management plans. Producers will be required to pay for public information and communication campaigns on prevention of littering and EU countries will have a clear obligation to change behaviour through continuous communication and education initiatives.
In addition, dropping litter will become an offence in all EU countries. EU countries must identify the products that are the main sources of littering in the natural environment and take measures to reduce them. EU-wide information exchanges on best practice will take place for litter prevention, among others. And “municipal waste” has been clarified to cover collected litter, meaning local authorities will be responsible for cleansing litter.
There may be more developments in relation to marine litter but we have not yet seen all the final texts that were agreed.
Unfortunately, it seems the definition of litter has been dropped from the earlier proposals (7 breakthrough propositions), but overall this is good news for the future of litter prevention. On this note, we wish you happy year-end celebrations!