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The green paper also questions whether it might be possible to improve the modular and chemical design of plastic to improve recyclability.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “Managing plastic waste is a major challenge in terms of environmental protection, but it’s also a huge opportunity for resource efficiency.

“In a circular economy where high recycling rates offer solutions to material scarcity, I believe plastic has a future. I invite all stakeholders to participate in this process of reflection on how to make plastic part of the solution rather than the problem.”

The consultation lasts until June 2013. It will then feed into further policy action in 2014 as part of a broader waste policy review.