More than 80% are plastic items.
Addamo A.M., Laroche P., Hanke G., Top Marine Beach Litter Items in Europe: a review and synthesis based on beach litter data. JRC Technical Report EUR 29249 EN.
The identification of Top Marine Litter Items is a matter of concern for the MSFD, the upcoming EU Plastics Strategy and in general for the prioritisation of measures against marine litter. Specific measures are needed to prevent further inputs and reduce the abundance of litter items. The provision of measures for MSFD implementation and the EU Plastics Strategy require the identification of beach litter items that need most attention.

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The quantification of litter items through beach litter monitoring enables a ranking based on their numerical abundance. The report presents studies from Regional Sea Conventions and projects that have ranked items by their occurrence on beaches at different spatial scales. Prior to this report there was no EU wide analysis available.
The report in preparation has been developed by JRC within the TG Litter. It lists an updated compilation of available studies and publications of top item lists. Different calculation methods, leading to different results, have been described. A European beach litter dataset from 2016 has been collected within the TG Litter and most abundant litter items across Europe have been ranked. Data included the outcome from monitoring programs, clean-up campaigns and research projects.
Results, also with focus on single use products, have been provided in support to the development of the EU Plastics Strategy. The data analysis involved spatial data grouping at EU, regional and national level. It includes also seasonal variability of beach litter. A total of 379 847 Marine Litter Items have been recorded during 679 surveys on 277 beaches.
Furthermore the report gives an outlook on the potential consideration of risk-related item properties, leading to a prioritisation based on potential harm. The report should provide information in order to develop and implement most efficient measures against marine litter. This report substitutes the previous 2016 JRC ad hoc report (Hanke G., 2016. Marine Beach Litter in Europe – Top items: a short draft summary. JRC Technical Reports JRC103929.) that provided a tentative compilation of previously identified top litter items.

Pie chart of Top 10 Beach Marine Litter items found in Europe.