The European Commission (EC) has proposed new EU rules to target the 10 most single-use plastic items found in Europe’s oceans and beaches, including plastic cotton buds and straws.
These new rules are designed to gain the best results, with different measures being applied to different products.
A plastic ban on certain products, including cutlery, plates, plastic cotton buds, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons could be implemented under these new rules, and will be made from more sustainable materials.
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Other new measures include:
- Member States will have to reduce the use of plastic food containers and drinks cups by setting national targets
- Producers will help cover the costs of waste management and clean-up
- Member States will be obliged to collect 90% of single-use plastic drink bottles by 2025
- Certain products will require clear labelling, indicating how waste should be disposed, the environmental impact of the product, and if plastic is present in the product
- Member States will have to raise consumer awareness about the impact single-use plastics has.
EC first vice-president Frans Timmermans said: “This Commission promised to be big on the big issues and leave the rest to Member States. 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.
He added that these proposals will help reduce single-use plastics on supermarket shelves, and that by banning some items, we can substitute them with more sustainable alternatives, so people can still use their favourite products.
The Commission’s proposals will go to the European Parliament and Council for adoption.