The EU has pledged to make all plastic packaging recyclable by 2030.
The move is part of the bloc’s first ever Europe-wide strategy to reduce plastic usage.
Other plans, announced by the EU Commission, include reducing use of single-use plastics and restrictions on microplastics.
Commissioners claim that microplastics in the air, water and food are “reaching citizens’ lungs and dinner tables,” with little known about the impact that might have on health.
Critics suggest the strategy contains little definite action or funding – and the pledge will not apply to the UK, as it leaves the EU by March of next year.
Frans Timmermans, the EU Commission’s first vice-president, 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.
“With the EU Plastics Strategy we are also driving a new, more circular business model.
“We need to invest in innovative new technologies that keep our citizens and our environment safe whilst keeping our industry competitive.”
According to the Commission, European citizens generate 25m tons of plastic waste a year, but less than 30% is collected for recycling.
It also says that across the world, plastics make up 85% of beach litter.
However, the European Union is not going as far as to ban single-use plastics, as it is viewed this should be down to individual states.
Plans mooted that a plastic tax could be introduced to fill the EU budget holes created by Brexit also appear to have been ruled out.
:: Sky has been running its Ocean Rescue campaign for the past year, highlighting the damage being done by plastics to the seas and their wildlife. Find out more at Sky Ocean Rescue.