Towards Osaka Blue Ocean Vision - G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter


Actions and Progress on Marine Plastic Litter
Last Update : 2021/08/13

Policy framework

National Action Plan

Action Plan for the Marine Environment (Marine Strategy Framework Directive – MSFD)

– Brief description: the MSFD aims at protecting more effectively the marine environment across Europe by achieving the good environmental status of the EU marine waters. The comprehensive document identifies the main pressures such as marine litter. EU member States have drawn up a programme of measures to attain good environmental status. The first cycle of the programme is currently under review and the measures of the second cycle are being drafted.

Ø Biodiversity plan: Target – “0 plastic reaching the sea in 2025”

– Brief description: the biodiversity plan has been published in 2018. It sets up the national strategy to protect biodiversity. It tackles multiple aspects of the national environmental policy such as climate adaptation and plastic reduction.

Ø National Roadmap against Marine Litter “0 plastic reaching the sea 2019-2025”

– Brief description: the objective of this roadmap is ambitious: ending the dumping of plastic waste at sea by 2025 by implementing 35 actions aiming at preventing plastic pollution and raising awareness. This national roadmap translates the biodiversity plan into concrete actions.

Ø National Roadmap for a circular economy

( )

– Brief description: it aims at achieving a transition towards a circular economy by providing national citizens with the means to adopt a more sustainable consumption and make progress in waste separation.

Legal framework

i. The legislation for energy transition for green growth (2015)

Brief description:

The legislation for energy transition for green growth (2015) set up the prohibition of non-compostable plastic bags for 2017 and progressively extended recycling to all plastic packaging by 2022.

ii. The legislation for Reclaiming biodiversity, nature and landscapes law (2016)

Brief description:

The legislation for Reclaiming biodiversity, nature and landscapes law (2016) has set up a ban for microbeads in cosmetics for 2018 and a ban for cotton-buds in 2020.

iii. The legislation for trade relations balance in the agricultural sector and healthy and sustainable diet (EGAlim, 2018)

Brief description:

The legislation for trade relations balance in the agricultural sector and healthy and sustainable diet (EGAlim, 2018) has planned a ban on plastic stirrers and straws in 2020, and a ban of food containers in collective catering for 2025.

iv. The legislation against waste and for a circular economy (2020)

Brief description:

The legislation against waste and for a circular economy (2020) has defined a goal of zero single-use plastic by 2040, with targets for deposits, recycling and reuse.

v. “3R” Decree for reduction, reuse and recycling of single use plastic packaging for 2021-2025 period

Brief description: This executive decree has been adopted in April 2021 in the context of the legislation against waste and for a circular economy, it defines 3R objectives for single-use plastic packaging for the period 2021-2025


Examples of targets for the legislation against waste and for circular economy :

(i) 5% of reused packaging by 2023

(ii) 10% of reused packaging by 2027

(iii) 50% less single use plastic bottles by 2030

(iv) 100% recycled plastic by 2025

(v) 20% reduction target for single-use plastic packaging (expressed as tonnages of incorporated plastic / reference year 2018) by 31st December 2025, taking into account that at least 50% of this target must be achieved through the reuse of packaging

(vii) 77% of plastic bottles collected by 2025.

(viii) A threshold has been defined at the EU level and it sets a target for good environmental status of a maximum of 20 litter items for 100 meters of beaches.

(ix) In the framework of the Marine Framework Directive environmental objectives have been defined with as target a decrease in the amount of litter found in the marine environment.




Prevention and reduction of plastic waste generation

Charge for single-use plastic products (e.g. shopping bags, straws)

Progressive ban of some single use plastic products and reinforcement of extended producer responsibility schemes and development new ones

Targeted products: plastic bags, plastic packaging, plastic bottles, cups, cutlery, plates, containers, expanded polystyrene, …

Brief description:

-The legislation for energy transition for green growth (2015) sets up the prohibition of non-compostable plastic bags since 2017;

– The legislation against waste and for a circular economy progressively forbids the sale and use of certain plastic items, it forbids the single-use plastic items listed in the European directive as well as cotton-bud and microbeads;

– The legislation against waste and for a circular economy creates 11 new EPR schemes and extend existing ones.

Numerical data if any:

Plastic bags have been forbidden and are less found in the environment.

We cannot deduce any trends as to the presence of single-use items general in the environment yet. However, in 2020, single-use plastic items represented 19% of the litter collected during litter with a median of de 77 SUP/100meter.

Actions for encouraging sustainable / circular product design

i. Establishment of a roadmap for circular economy (100% of plastics to be recycled in 2025, with targets for a better collection of plastics, targets for a better recyclability of plastic products, etc.), and a study of a nation-wide deposit system for plastic bottles and other beverage containers

ii. introduction of a definition of bulk selling in the national legislation and creation of an obligation for shops with a surface area of more than 400 meters to make reusable containers available to consumers;

iii. definition of standard ranges of reusable packaging for the catering sector, as well as for fresh products and drinks;

iv. allocation of at least 2% of the annual packaging extended producer responsibility organization contribution to the development of solutions for the reuse of packaging (implementation in 2022);

v. modulation of the financial contributions paid by producers to EPR organizations according to environmental performance criteria, including the possibility of reuse;

vi. improvement of consumer information on the possibilities of re-use (implementation in 2022).


Regulation on microplastics

– The law of February 10, 2020, relative to the fight against waste and the economy circular foresee that sites of production, manipulation (the sites industrial using granules plastic in their processes of production) and transport (platforms logistics, ports maritime and river) granules of plastics industrial be endowed of equipment and procedures to prevent the loss and leaks granules of plastics industrial that represent a part microplastics susceptible to be found in the environment.

It also foresees setting the implementation of regular inspections by independent-certified organizations.

The terms of implementation are precised in the Decree n°2021-461 of 16 April 2021 relative to the prevention of losses of granules of industrial plastics in the environment.

– Participation to European REACH regulation

Brief description:

France contributes to European negotiations to prevent microplastics in products (REACH regulation).




Environmentally sound waste management

Enforcement of proper waste management system

vii. Simplify the sorting process for citizens and extend it to all types of household plastics;

viii. Experiment deposit schemes;

ix. Decision to create a new EPR organization for industrial and commercial packaging before 2025

x. The legislation against waste and for a circular economy dictates that the terms of reference of the EPR organizations should include targets for reducing the amount of packaging placed on the market, particularly single-use plastic packaging. Failure to reach these targets is sanctioned (implementation in 2023).

Numerical data if any:

(a) Total post-consumer plastic waste generation: 3,3Mt

total of post-consumer plastics collected for recycling : 0,71 Mt.

The rest is either incinerated or disposed of in landfill.

Source : ADEME, Bilan national du recyclage, 2017.

(b) For plastic packaging, the latest figures are the following:

total amount of post-consumer plastic packaging waste : 2,2Mt

recycling rate : 26%

recovery rate 65% (including recycling)

Prevention of littering, illegal dumping and unintentional leakage of waste into the ocean

(a) On-land actions:

– Elaborate recommendations for municipalities in order to fight illegal dumping;

– provide municipalities good practices and a national guide to fight litter and monitor landfills along the coastline;

– identify solutions for the substitution of expanded polystyrene and support fishermen toward these solutions;

– prevent the leakage of preproduction plastic pellets into the environment through an involvement of the industries

(b) Actions on rivers and waste and rain water:

– integrate objectives concerning marine litter in inland waters planning documents;

– launch actions to prevent the leaks of plastic filtering sieves from water treatment plants into the environment.

(c) Actions on the seashore and at sea

– implement the collection and recycling of fishing gears and aquaculture waste in link with the European directive;

– launch a call for projects to tackle plastic pollution in the oversea territories;

– encourage and develop passive fishing for litter actions and actions to improve waste reception and management in ports;

– increase the number of ports joining the European “clean port” certification;

– Provide fishermen and mussel farmers good practices to prevent waste from net cuttings and from mussel farming.




Cleanup of marine plastic litter

Collection of scattered waste on beach

xi. Support clean-up campaign organized by NGOs on beaches and along the coastlines;

xii. Launch of the citizen science platform on marine litter to identify the clean-up actions taking place.

Numerical data if any:

The platform gathers 255 organizations.

NGOs are financially supported each year.

Removal of plastic litter from the ocean

France is leading fishing for litter.

Brief description:

Fishing for litter consist of the retrieval by fishermen of litter collected accidentally during fishing operations.

Numerical data if any:

Fishing for litter data will be available at the end of the year.

The call for projects to tackle plastic pollution in the oversea territories has granted a total of 266 548 euros granted for projects that contribute to litter retrieval before and in the coastal environment.



Promotion of innovative solutions

Policy actions for encouraging plastic alternatives (e.g. biodegradable plastics, circular product design – including use of recycled materials or closed loop recycling and so on’)

Introduction of a definition of bulk selling in the national legislation and creation of an obligation for shops with a surface area of more than 400 meters to make reusable containers available to consumers;

xiii. definition of standard ranges of reusable packaging for the catering sector, as well as for fresh produce and drinks

xiv. Simplify the sorting process for citizens and expand it to all plastics;

xv. Experiment deposit schemes;

xvi. Expand the scope of action of the ERP packaging schemes to industrial and commercial packaging


Public-private partnerships for creating and implementing innovative solution

Identifying new fishing gears that intend to prevent impacts in the marine environment.

xvii. In 2020, the Ministry of ecological transition launched the basis for an Accelerating Strategy “Recyclability, recycling and reincorporation of materials” in order to support innovation in the private sector. The strategy targets plastic as a priority material.

xviii. The ADEME has planned to launch a study in 2021 to characterise the sources of recoverable waste in France and to identify and analyse the most promising chemical recycling methods for treating these sources




Education and awareness raising

Education system for encouraging public awareness on MPL issues

In 2020, the Ministry has launched the “Beaches without plastic litter” chart in link with local authorities. This chart is composed of 3 categories of actions and public awareness is one of them. Raising awareness through education is a commitment that local authorities are to implement. Multiple educational actions are already taking place.

Creation of educative marine protected areas and organization of collection of marine litter.

Numerical data if any:

41 local authorities have signed the Charter.

Awareness raising campaigns related to MPL

National level:

(a) Actions on the seashore and at sea;

(i) Implementation of awareness raising actions to the benefit of fishing and aquaculture activities;

(ii) raise awareness of amateur boaters through the “I sail, I sort” campaign.

(b) Awareness raising actions

(i) put in place a citizen science platform on marine litter to identify the clean-up actions that take place, monitor the data and share best practices;

(ii) develop awareness raising and actions to inform citizens of the pollution, its impacts and the good practices to have.

(c) Multi-stakeholder involvement

(i) regular consultation of stakeholders involved in marine litter issues (NGOs, experts, agencies…) through annual meetings.

(ii) implement voluntary commitments of NGOs, major retailers and brand owners (through the “National Pact on plastic packaging”) on prevention measures (elimination of harmful or unnecessary plastic packaging and improved recycled content) accompanied by a monitoring system with pertinent features (transparency, independence, auditable).

Local level:

xix. support the associations that launch awareness raising actions and clean-ups;

xx. put in place a “Beaches without plastic litter” chart in link with local authorities;

International / Regional level:

Actions under OSPAR convention

Brief description:

In the context of the ICG-ML, the working group dedicated to marine litter, the OSPAR Secretariat has developed a communication kit on the actions led by the Contracting Parties in the implementation of the Marine Litter Regional Action Plan. This kit also aims at raising awareness on the work implemented through OSPAR and on the impact on marine litter.




Check the following actions in your country.

Choose the most appropriate options to describe the achievements attained through the measures selected, using quantitative information if any.

Monitoring & Scientific research on marine plastic litter

Actions for encouraging monitoring / scientific research on plastic flows and ocean surface microplastics

Names of actions: The Ministry of Ecology partners up with national agencies and research centers (such as ADEME and CEDRE) to lead scientific research on marine litter

Brief description:

(a) Actions on rivers and waste and rain water

(i) quantify the litter carried though rivers;

(ii) quantify litter carried through waste water;

(iii) identify the areas where litter accumulates in rivers;

(iv) identify the actions/tools to prevent or recover litter in rivers and waste and rain water and experiment them;

(v) evaluate the discharge of litter by rain water and elaborate strategies for action;

(vi) define a common methodology to monitor riverine litter and microplastic pollution.

(b) Actions on the seashore and at sea

(i) monitor litter and microplastics on beach sediments and at sea and in biota (fulmars and turtles);

(ii) determine the areas where litter accumulates at sea and on the coastline and the possibility of actions;

(iii) identify and put in place actions to improve litter collection in ports in link with the European directive.

(c) Research

(i) federate and give better voice to the scientific community;

(ii) launch studies on plastic alternatives that do not impact health and the environment;

(iii) launch studies on the recycling of plastics that have been at sea.

1) Actions for encouraging monitoring / scientific research on plastic flows and ocean surface microplastics

We see a positive improvement from last two years


Numerical data if any:

Engagement in international/regional level actions for encouraging monitoring / scientific research on plastic flows and ocean surface microplastics

(a) Participation in regional sea conventions for knowledge and best practices sharing and implementation of action plans;

(b) Participation in international fora, negotiations and guidelines: JRC, UNEP,, IMO, UN World Ocean Assessment II, GESAMP, European Technical Group on Marine Litter, Basel convention, Barcelone Convention, etc;

(c) Organization of a workshop to identify the different methodologies to monitor riverine macroplastic pollution in the OSPAR area (regional sea convention);

(d) Promote international cooperation among European willing member states for the exchange of best practice and as an advocacy towards the European Commission to implement facilitating measures (“European Plastics Pact”).


Best practices

National level

(a) The prohibition of single-use plastic items (which are most found in the marine environment) is a good way to develop alternatives and to provide citizens with a safer choice of products and develop new habits of consumption. It is also very coherent with a better use of resources and the implementation of a circular economy.

(b)A citizen science platform is very useful to give a clear idea of all the clean-ups that occur and of the quantity (and qualification) of litter collected. Such a platform is a way to share the good guidelines to conduct clean-ups (to preserve biodiversity and the nesting of birds, etc.) and to communicate on this issue and on actions and link the population who wants to get involved to the NGOs already in place.

(c)The Ministry is developing the national charter “Beaches without plastic waste”. Coastal municipalities are invited to sign this charter in order to implement 15 concrete actions of awareness raising, clean-up and prevention of marine litter on their beaches. It is useful to shed a light on good practices, improve communication between municipalities and realize an annual evaluation of the actions.

(d) The extended producer responsibility schemes allows to finance the collection and recycling of certain waste. They can be particularly relevant when certain wastes are most found whose collection can be difficult to put in place (for instance: cigarette buds).

(e) The 2020 legislation against waste and for a circular economy creates a re-use observatory that will be responsible for assessing the relevance of reuse solutions from an environmental and economic point of view, for defining the national trajectory aiming at increasing the share of reused packaging on the market in relation to single-use packaging. It will also be in charge of supporting, in coordination with eco-organizations, experiments and the deployment of the resources needed to achieve the objectives defined in the terms of reference.

Local level

(a) An efficient waste management and fight against littering (fine)

(b) Awareness raising: since 2017, some municipalities have been implementing awareness-raising campaigns through the installation of “Here begins the sea” signs near sewer drains, in order to encourage citizens to dispose of their waste in the appropriate facilities and thus prevent litter.

(c) Municipalities have put in place nets to prevent litter from reaching the sea and rivers.

Private sector

(a) Development of links with the industrial sector: the “National Pact on plastic packaging” allows a commitment from the companies and the implementation of recycling, reusing and reducing plastic packaging targets. Moreover, an exceptional financial support scheme for the sale of recycled materials (to compensate the difference between the price of recycled materials and virgin materials” has been implemented by the ADEME at the end of 2020, enabling 60 projects to be supported. In 2021, the ADEME has also launched the ORPLAST project, a financial scheme aiming at increasing the incorporation of plastic recycling raw materials by plastic manufacturers as a substitute for virgin material by supporting feasibility/test studies and investments (adaptation of equipments, etc…).

(b) The Clean Sweep Operation is an international program for the actors of the plastic industry, and designed to prevent the loss of plastic pellets in the aquatic environment. It provides companies a guide with good practices to follow.

International cooperation

(a) Participation to meetings and working groups (UN, G7, G20, RSC, EU, etc)

(b) France organized in 2017 and 2019 a workshop to share results and methodologies of existing projects analyzing riverine plastic pollution. Harmonized methodologies are needed for a long-term plastic pollution monitoring in rivers and should help assess measures efficiency. The outputs of this workshop was an exchange of knowledge, improved relations between researchers and NGOs running riverine litter monitoring projects and a first draft summarizing advantages and disadvantages of every method discussed during the workshop.

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