EU proposes ban on drinking straws and other single-use plastics

The European Commission is recommending a ban on single-use plastics, such as cutlery, food containers and drink cups. The announcement is part of Brussels efforts to reduce marine litter.

The European Commission is proposing new EU-wide rules to ban the ten single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas. These include plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates and straws.

Under the new rules, these products will have to be made exclusively from more sustainable materials instead.

Plastic food containers and drink cups will not be banned, but EU Member States will have to reduce their use, for example by ensuring that single-use plastic products cannot be provided free of charge.

The new rules also set high collection targets for single-use plastic drink bottles, like PET bottles: 90 per cent of these products will have to be collected by 2025 for recycling.

Monday’s announcement also targets producers of plastic products, from candy wrappers to balloons and cigarette butts, demanding that they help cover the costs of management and clean-up, as well as awareness raising.

The new rules are designed to reduce marine litter.

“Plastic waste is undeniably a big issue and Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem, because plastic waste ends up in our air, our soil, our oceans, and in our food,” said Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission.

EU commissioner for jobs and growth Jyrki Katainen sees the new rules as “an opportunity for Europe to lead the way, creating products the world will demand for decades to come, and extracting more economic value from our precious and limited resources”.

According to the Eurobarometer, 72 per cent of Europeans said they have cut down on their use of plastic bags since the EU passed a law in 2015 addressing this issue.

Image via Pixabay

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