Jeremy Irons at the EU Commission

Brussels, Belgium. 7th March 2013 — British actor Jeremy Irons participated in a talk about plastic waste at the EU Commission. Jeremy was invited by EU Commissioner Januz Potonik to talk about plastic waste in the world. He added his voice to an EU campaign to ban non-recylable plastics, including plastic bags.

 

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From The New Age

British actor Jeremy Irons brought a rare touch of glamour to the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels on Thursday to talk about an issue close to his heart: Trash disposal.

“I refuse to call it waste. ‘Waste’ is a verb, it is what we do. We are wasting our resources,” he said.

His appearance at the European Commission, the bloc’s executive, was in support of a drive to find ways of reducing the mountains of plastic rubbish generated annually, much of which ends up in the world’s oceans.

“What I’ve tried to do is glamourize trash,” Irons said, conceding that it was not an issue that won many votes.

Irons dismissed the tendency to shelve recycling as a matter to be dealt with after resolving more pressing issues, such as the economic crisis.

He said it didn’t take much effort for people to separate their rubbish, adding, “It doesn’t cost me anything to put out my separate bins and I get rather a pleasure out of it.”

The actor said: “We can make money out of recycling,” adding that it also generated jobs.

He referred to the 12 million euros (15.6 million dollars) that Ireland had made by introducing a 15-cent charge on plastic bags, which he said had also reduced the use of new bags by 92 per cent.

Irons said that by contrast his country, Britain, was doing “spectacularly little” on recycling, failing for example to tax plastic bags – “a symbol of waste.”

He said disorganization and vested interests – specifically those of the companies earning money off rubbish disposal and incineration – stood in the way of progress towards better trash management.

Ultimately, however, Irons said it was up to individuals to bring about change – by refusing to buy plastic water bottles, reusing and repairing old goods or by composting, as he did.

“I’m just a bloke,” the actor said. “There are a lot of blokes and women around in the world,” adding that it was their behaviour that would help bring about change.

“Politicians will therefore, in their normal fashion, be able to follow the current mood,” he added.

Last year, Irons produced and featured in a documentary film, Trashed, highlighting the issue of rubbish disposal and the need for more recycling.

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Getting Trashed with Jeremy Irons – from the Wall Street Journal

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Jeremy Irons to Attend ‘Trashed’ Screening in Brussels, Belgium

Source

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The event:

What: 12.30 Joint press conference by European Commissioner for Environment, Janez Potočnik and Jeremy Irons, Narrator and Executive Producer the documentary film Trashed.

The launch will be followed by the projection of the film Trashed in the European Parliament.

When: Thursday 7th March 2013

Where: Berlaymont Press Room, in Brussels
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The news:

The European Commission is publishing a Green Paper on plastic waste to launch a structured discussion about how to make plastic products more sustainable throughout their life cycle and reduce the impact of plastic waste on the environment. The current EU environmental legislation doesn’t specifically address the particular challenges posed by plastic waste. The Green Paper aims to collect facts and stakeholders’ views on the impacts of plastic waste and a way of mitigating them through a European strategy. The consultation consists of 26 questions and will last until end of May 2013. The result will feed into further policy action in 2014 as part of a broader waste policy review, which will look in particular at the existing targets for waste recovery and landfill as well as an ex-post evaluation of five directives covering various waste streams.

The background:

Once in the environment, particularly in the marine environment, plastic waste can persist for hundreds of years. Up to 10 million tons of litter, mostly plastic, end up in the world’s oceans and seas annually, turning them into the world’s biggest plastic dump. The presence of plastic residues, even in the most remote areas of world seas and shores shows that there is a price to pay for unhampered proliferation of plastic waste. Conventional plastic also contains a large number, and sometimes a large proportion of chemical additives which can be carcinogenic, provoke other toxic reactions or act as endocrine disruptors.