Press release

21 major European cities pledge to prevent and reduce plastic pollution

24 October 2019

Today, the city of Oslo is joining forces with EUROCITIES to launch a joint Plastics Declaration committing cities to develop a strategy and set time bound targets to significantly reduce plastic pollution in their city by 2021.

“Plastic pollution is a global problem. There is a strong need for policies that will reduce consumption of plastic products, as well as increase demand for more environmentally friendly plastic products. As large single purchasers, cities can play a leading role by purchasing sustainable alternatives when available, or buying plastic products based on recyclable raw materials, stimulating the market for environment friendly plastic products,” says Lan Marie Berg, Vice Mayor for Environment and Transport, City of Oslo.

21 cities have so far signed the joint Oslo-EUROCITIES declaration on reducing plastic waste in cities: Bergen, Braga, Bristol, Copenhagen, Florence, Ghent, Guimaraes, Hamburg, Helsinki, Malaga, Mannheim, Mezitli, Milan, Munster, Oslo, Porto, Reims, Strasbourg,Turin, Varna and Zaragoza.

The declaration commits signatory cities to produce an action plan within two years that will see cities move towards eliminating or significantly reducing the use of unnecessary plastic products and consumption of single-use plastics; to work with business and industry to incentivise a rapid transformation from consumption of single-use plastics to sustainable products; and to establish systems for separate collection of all plastic waste. Benefits from this move include a much cleaner city, cleaner beaches and waterways, as well as reducing the need to incinerate plastic waste, a chief source of CO2 emissions in cities.

“The European Union has adopted ambitious measures to urgently reduce single-use plastics use, boost plastics reuse and recycling and overall push industry into a circular economy for plastics. One of the key objectives of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy adopted in 2018 is that all plastics packaging must be reusable or recyclable by 2030.

European cities have a key role to play by putting in place plastic waste prevention actions, implementing efficient separate collection for plastic waste or organising litter prevention and clean-up on their territory,” says Olivier De-Clercq, Policy Officer in the Waste Management and Recycling Unit, Directorate General for Environment, European Commission.

Plastic pollutes the natural environment and severely affects ecosystems. Toxic substances associated with plastic particles enter the food chain and ultimately are consumed by humans. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions from the plastic lifecycle threaten the ability of the global community to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C.

“This joint initiative forms part of an ongoing campaign at EUROCITIES to tackle plastic pollution in cities across Europe. As cities we can drive a change in consumption patterns and behaviour and inspire other levels of government, businesses and individuals to rethink the way we use plastic in our cities. We will take this action forward at the next EUROCITIES Environment Forum, in Porto and Guimaraes, where we will make another push to gather support from many more cities, ” says Filipe Araujo, Deputy Mayor for Environment, city of Porto and chair of EUROCITIES Environment Forum.

Plastic waste does not respect national borders and is a global problem that requires international solutions across several sectors and actors of the value chain, including local authorities. Cities are using their purchasing power to phase out single-use plastics and encouraging the use of recycled plastics in products. Cities play a key role in better collection and treatment of plastic and many are improving waste collection and management practices. Cities are striving to increase public awareness of consumption patterns, mobilising clean-up initiatives and collaborating with the business sector on the development of alternative products.


Notes to editor:

  1. You can find an example of the plastics declaration here: EUROCITIES_Environment_Forum_Plastic_Declaration
  2. The signing cities: Bergen, Braga, Bristol, Copenhagen, Florence, Ghent, Guimaraes, Hamburg, Helsinki, Malaga, Mannheim, Mezitli, Milan, Munster, Oslo, Porto, Reims, Strasbourg, Turin, Varna and Zaragoza
  3. The city of Oslo is European Green Capital 2019, more information available here:
  4. EUROCITIES is the political platform for major European cities. We network the local governments of over 140 of Europe’s largest cities and more than 40 partner cities that between them govern some 130 million citizens across 39 countries.


EUROCITIES media contact
Alex Godson: +32 495 298 594 //


Alex Godson Eurocities Writer