The European Commission has launched the first ever EU-wide strategy to fight plastic waste.
It aims to ensure all plastic packaging is recyclable by 2030, the use of single-use plastics is reduced and the intentional use of microplastics is restricted.
Europeans generate around 25 million tonnes of plastic waste every year but less than 30% is collected for recycling.
Under the latest strategy, new rules on packaging will be developed to improve the recyclability of plastics used on the market and increase the demand for recycled plastic content.
The Commission will also provide guidance for national authorities and European businesses on how to minimise plastic waste at source, with an additional €100 million (£88m) for the development of smarter and more recyclable plastic materials.
It believes the new proposals will boost business opportunities by creating new recycling markets in Europe and change the way products are produced, designed and recycled.
First Vice President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development said: “If we don’t change the way we produce and use plastics, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050. we must stop plastics getting into our water, our food and even our bodies.
“The only long term solution is to reduce plastic waste by recycling and reusing more. This is a challenge that citizens, industry and governments must tackle together.”
Earlier this month, UK Prime Minister Theresa May also set out a 25-year plan to reduce plastic waste.