On April 17, the European Commission published a paper entitled, "Green Paper on a European Strategy on Plastic Waste in the Environment." This paper examines the topic of creating legislation to deal with the growing plastic waste disposal problem throughout the European Union. 

According to studies of plastic waste throughout the 27 members of the European Union, the amount of plastic packaging waste generated by residents is the equivalent to 156 kg or 343 pounds of waste per year. Industrial waste and other types of plastic waste add to the problem. All told, the EU produces an excess of 70 million metric tons of plastic waste annually. 

The report discusses the potential for lawmakers to encourage more plastic recycling to help cut down on the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Possible methods of encouraging recycling include completely prohibiting the disposal of plastic in landfills, levying taxes for plastic disposal and instituting a "pay as you throw" system in which companies and possibly even individuals would be assessed a fee for throwing away plastics.

The report asks a series of questions that stakeholders are invited to answer and then submit to lawmakers. Answers will be accepted until the end of June 2013. New legislation concerning plastic waste disposal could come as soon as 2014.

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