From the beaches of the Greek islands to all corners of Europe, European citizens are doing their bit to clean up plastic waste and reduce the amount of plastic in the environment.
On Syros, a small island which forms part of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea, more than 200 local shops signed voluntary agreements to reduce plastic consumption and organise educational events, such as beach clean-ups and activities in local schools. The LIFE DEBAG project, which ran for four years - replaced single-use plastic bags with 12,000 reusable cotton ones, which were handed out to more than 40,000 tourists and 16,000 inhabitants.
Accompanied by a public awareness campaign on TV, radio and online, the project succeeded in reducing the accumulation of plastic bags by 85% on beaches and by 60% on the seafloor.
The results show the impact that a targeted campaign can have on public awareness. Still, the results are wider than awareness. LIFE DEBAG brought a significant reduction in plastic rubbish, reducing the threats to marine life and human health.
LIFE DEBAG is a clear example of the EU’s commitment to the 2019 EU Single-Use Plastics Directive into practice.
The EU Single-Use Plastics Directive aims to stimulate the use of more sustainable alternatives to items such as cotton bud sticks, food containers and plastic bags. Nearly 6,000 LIFE projects, including more than one thousand currently in action, have been funded over the past decades, and more than €5.4 billion has been committed for the 2021-2027 period.
This year, there is €611 million available for nature conservation, environmental protection, climate action, and clean energy transition projects. Visit the LIFE 2023 Calls for Proposals page for more information on the kinds of projects we fund, application dates and how to apply.
- Publication date
- 30 June 2023
- European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency