Dolphin with a plastic bag attached to its body

Action alert: Tell the EU to say ‘no’ to single-use plastic bags

Millions of marine mammals, birds, turtles and fish die every year as a result of entanglement or ingestion of marine debris, choking and entangled in man-made litter.

Plastic bags are the third most common type of litter found on European beaches, lakes and rivers. Used for just a few minutes, they last for centuries in the marine environment.

Next week, on April 16, the European Parliament is voting on measures to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic bags. Although lacking a commitment to a ban on all single-use bags, the proposal sets mandatory reduction targets which represent a good first step forwards.

We need your help to make sure MEPs vote for binding measures that will significantly reduce the use of single-use plastic bags.

Here are two easy but important ways you can play a vital role in telling MEPs how important this issue is to you, and that killing marine life with plastic waste is unacceptable.

You can find email addresses and Twitter IDs for UK MEPs by scrolling down.

1. Send a Tweet

Together with our NGO partners, we are seeking to create a Twitter storm to let MEPs know how important this issue is.

If you are a Twitter user, starting tomorrow, Friday, April 11 at 10am UK time, please Tweet your MEPs to call on them to vote for binding measures to cut consumption of single-use plastic bags.

Join us in sending these Tweets every day until the plenary vote to keep the pressure on:

Friday, April 11 at 10am:
@{twitter of the MEP} #EPlenary Ban single-use #plasticbags. Vote to stop killing #marine life

Monday, April 14 at 1pm:
@{twitter of the MEP} #EPlenary Stop the throwaway #plasticbags society, support binding #EU reduction targets

Tuesday, April 15 at 2pm:
@{twitter of the MEP} #EPlenary Vote for oceans free of #plasticbags

Wednesday, April 16 at 10am:
@{twitter of the MEP} #EPlenary Support binding #EU #plasticbags reduction targets.

You can follow EIA’s Twitter account @EIAinvestigator and reTweet our messages about this issue.

2. Send an email to your local MEPs

Let your regional MEPs know how unacceptable it is to perpetuate a throwaway society and ask them to vote ‘YES’ to binding measures that will result in a huge reduction in consumption of single-use plastic bags throughout Europe.

You can compose your own message or use/adapt the sample email we’ve provided. Scroll down for the email addresses of your local MEPs.

If you are outside the UK, you can find details of your MEPs here.


Dear MEP,

Marine debris kills more than a million seabirds, mammals, turtles and other marine animals every year, choking and entangling over 600 species.

Used once and discarded, plastic bags are the third most common type of litter found on European beaches, lakes and rivers – and they can persist in the marine environment for hundreds of years, eventually breaking down to microplastics – themselves a growing threat to marine life.

By voting on April 16 to support amendments proposed by the ENVI Committee to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive that set binding reduction targets for EU member states and amendments that would mean all retailers charge for single-use bags, you can help to dramatically reduce the eight billion plastic bags which end up as litter throughout the EU every year.

This is a prime opportunity for Europe to lead the way in reducing the impact of harmful plastic waste on our environment.

Please demonstrate that you care by using your vote to help end this unnecessary, throwaway blight on our collective environment and the permanent legacy it leaves behind.

Yours sincerely

((Your name here))

UK MEP contact details

East Midlands

Bill Newton Dunn @billnewtondunn
Emma McClarkin @EmmaMcClarkin
Glenis Willmott; @gleniswillmott


Andrew Duff @Andrew_Duff_MEP
Geoffrey Van Orden @GVOMEP
Robert Sturdy @GoingGlobalConf
David Campbell Bannerman @DCBMEP
Vicky Ford
Richard Howitt @richardhowitt


Sarah Ludford @SarahLudfordMEP
Charles Tannock @CharlesTannock
Jean Lambert @GreenJeanMEP
Syed Kamall @syedKamall
Marina Yannakoudakis @MarinaMEP
Claude Moraes @ClaudeMoraesMEP
Mary Honeyball @maryhoneyball

North East

Fiona Hall @fionahallMEP
Martin Callanan;
Stephen Hughes

North West

Chris Davies @ChrisDaviesMEP
Jacqueline Foster; @jfostermep
Sajjad Karim @SHKMEP
Robert Atkins
Arlene McCarthy @EuroMP_ArleneMc
Brian Simpson

Northern Ireland

Diane Dodds @DianeDoddsMEP
James Nicholson @JNicholsonMEP


George Lyon @georgelyonmep
Ian Hudghton @hudghtonmepSNP
Struan Stevenson @struanstevenson
Alyn Smith @AlynSmithMEP
Catherine Stihler @C_Stihler_MEP
David Martin @davidmartinmep

South East

Catherine Bearder @catherinemep
James Elles @JamesElles
Richard Ashworth @richardashMEP
Nirj Deva @NirjDeva
Marta Andreasen @mandreasen
Daniel Hannan @DanHannanMEP
Peter Skinner @PeterSkinnerMEP
Keith Taylor @GreenKeithMEP

South West

Graham Watson @grahamwatsonmep
Ashley Fox @Ashleyfoxmep
Giles Chichester


Jill Evans @JillEvansMEP
Kay Swinburne
Derek Vaughan @derekvaughan

West Midlands

Phil Bennion @philbennionMEP
Anthea McIntyre @anthea_mcintyre
Philip Bradbourn
Malcolm Harbour
Michael Cashman

Yorkshire & the Humber

Rebecca Taylor @RTaylor_MEP
Godfrey  Bloom @goddersbloom
Edward McMillan-Scott @emcmillanscott
Timothy Kirkhope @TimKirkhopeMEP
Linda McAvan @LindaMcAvan