The EU has unveiled plans for all plastic packaging used in Europe to be recyclable or reusable by 2030.
It comes as part of a new Europe-wide strategy on plastics, which was launched today.
Widespread plastic pollution is considered one of the most significant environmental issues facing the planet, due to plastic's slow degradation.
Scientists have particularly highlighted the impact on the world's oceans, where millions of tonnes of plastic waste is dumped every year.
Currently, Europeans are said to generate 25 million tonnes of plastic waste every year - but less than 30% of that amount is collected for recycling.
European officials are now aiming to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics and restrict the intentional use of microplastics.
Plastics packaging accounts for 60% of all plastics waste, and 95% of the economic value is lost. By 2030 all plastics packaging must be reusable or recyclable in Europe.
— Frans Timmermans (@TimmermansEU) January 16, 2018
The new strategy also includes €100 million in additional funding to support efforts to find more 'innovative' and efficient recycling processes.
Frans Timmermans, first Vice-President of the European Commission, explained: "If we don't change the way we produce and use plastics, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050. We must stop plastics getting into our water, our food, and even our bodies.
"The only long-term solution is to reduce plastic waste by recycling and reusing more. This is a challenge that citizens, industry and governments must tackle together."
He added: "We need to invest in innovative new technologies that keep our citizens and our environment safe whilst keeping our industry competitive."
EU officials added that the new strategy "will transform the way products are designed, produced, used, and recycled" in Europe.