Today, the Commission decided to register a European Citizens’ Initiative entitled ‘ReturnthePlastics: A Citizen’s Initiative to implement an EU-wide deposit-system to recycle plastic bottles’.
The organisers of the initiative call on the Commission to present a proposal to:
- implement an EU-wide deposit-system to recycle plastic bottles,
- incentivise all EU Member States that supermarkets (chains) which are selling plastic bottles install reverse vending machines for recycling the plastic bottles after being purchased and used by the consumer, and
- make the plastic bottle producing companies pay plastic taxes for the recycling and deposit-system of the plastic bottles (under the principle that the polluter should pay).
The Commission considers that this initiative is legally admissible because it meets the necessary conditions. At this stage, the Commission has not analysed the substance of the initiative.
Following today’s registration, the organisers can start collecting signatures. If a European Citizens’ Initiative receives 1 million statements of support within 1 year from at least seven different Member States, the Commission will have to react. The Commission could decide either to take the request forward or not, and will be required to explain its reasoning.
The European Citizens’ Initiative was introduced with the Lisbon Treaty as an agenda-setting tool in the hands of citizens. It was officially launched in April 2012.
The conditions for admissibility are: (1) the proposed action does not manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act, (2) it is not manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious, and (3) it is not manifestly contrary to the values of the Union.
So far, the Commission has received 107 requests to launch a European Citizens’ Initiative, 82 of which were admissible and thus qualified to be registered.