The most hazardous plastics and certain plastic bags should be banned by 2020, according to a vote in the European Parliament.
MEPs voted to back a resolution that calls for an EU strategy to reduce plastic waste in the environment.
They also want to introduce binding plastic waste recycling targets, as well as mandatory critieria for all material recycling and harmonised criteria for collecting and sorting waste across the EU.
In the resolution that was passed by MEPs, they stressed that plastic waste is damaging to the environment due to both weak enforcement of existing legislation and to the lack of specific EU laws on plastic wastes.
Rapporteur Vittorio Prodi, whose resolution was adopted, said: “Parliament has shown the way to deal with the huge problem of the detrimental impact of plastic waste on the environment and human health.
“We said today that we want to change bad habits and account for our products, from production through to final disposal.
“By putting these products to good use and recycling them as much as possible, we close the loop and give effect to the concept of a circular economy. This will also help to clean up our seas and land, while creating more job opportunities.”
The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to make proposals this year to phase out the landfilling of recyclable and recoverable waste by 2020 and discourage the incineration of waste.
It also urges that plastic waste should not be used for energy recovery unless all other possibilities have been exhausted.
MEPs also want to see single use carrier bags phased out wherever possible. They have also called for bolder action to tackle illegal exports and dumping of plastic waste.