Background Paper: Plastics Policy in Germany and the EU

Background Paper: Plastics Policy in Germany and the EU

Plastic pollution – especially the dramatic littering of the oceans – and the public concern about it, has powerfully brought the issue on the European and German political agenda. Since then, there have been a whole series of new initiatives to regulate plastics - especially at EU level.

This background paper provides an overview of existing and new laws and initiatives regarding plastics in Germany and the EU. Despite the multitude of approaches, guidelines and laws, regulatory gaps remain. The greatest need for action exists in the areas of strengthening recycling and use of recycled plastics as well as waste prevention. Waste prevention remains the unwanted child in the resource discourse, although it almost always represents the best option in terms of environmental policy.

The authors Linda Mederake, Mandy Hinzmann and Susanne Langsdorf accordingly urge for a stronger systems thinking. An interdepartmental, coordinated plastics strategy in Germany could combine the relevant activities of the plastics policy, work out an overarching plan taking into account the waste hierarchy and contribute to its implementation. In addition, clearly formulated and measurable goals should be defined and a process-accompanying success control should be established.

The publication can be downloaded here as PDF in German.


Mederake, Linda; Hinzmann, Mandy; Langsdorf, Susanne (2020): Hintergrundpapier: Plastikpolitik in Deutschland und der EU. Ecologic Institut: Berlin.

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