European Parliament bans single-use items

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The European Parliament has approved a new law banning single-use plastic items including plates, cutlery, straws and cotton bud sticks.
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The European Parliament has approved a new law banning single-use plastic items including plates, cutlery, straws and cotton bud sticks.  

Overall, 560 MEPs voted in favour of the agreement with EU ministers, while 35 were against the proposal, and 28 abstained.  

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The following items will be banned in the EU by 2021: 

  • Single-use plastic cutlery  
  • Single use plastic plates 
  • Plastic straws 
  • Cotton bud sticks made from plastic 
  • Plastic balloon sticks 
  • Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups.  

Member states will have to achieve a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25% recycled content by 2025, and 30% by 2030.  

The agreement introduces extended responsibility for producers, which will also apply to fishing gear to ensure that manufacturers, and not fishermen, pay the costs of collecting nets lost at sea. 

This legislation stipulates that labelling on the negative environmental impact of throwing cigarettes with plastics filters in the street should be mandatory, as well as for other items such as plastic cups, wet wipes and sanitary napkins.  

Lead MEP Frédérique Ries said: “Legislation will reduce the environmental damage bill by €22 billion (£19 billion) – the estimated cost of plastic pollution in Europe until 2030. Europe now has a legislative model to defend and promote at international level, given the global nature of the issue of marine pollution involving plastics. This is essential for the planet.” 

PlasticsEurope has welcomed the formal adoption, stating that it “fully endorses the objective of stopping waste of any kind, including plastic”. 

It has now called for Parliament to set guidelines and definitions and categories as soon as possible to avoid the risk of different interpretations among Member States.  

PlasticsEurope executive director Karl-H. Foerster said: “We will continue working with the value chain and engaging with the relevant policy makers in order to identify and implement the most efficient solutions to prevent littering and develop new ways to boost reuse and recycling.”   

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