EU parliament approves ban on single-use plastics

Highlights:

  • European Union legislators have overwhelmingly approved a ban on single-use plastic items - including straws, forks, knives and cotton buds - to counter pollution amid efforts to push manufacturers to step up their recycling efforts.
  • The measure has passed and will take effect in 2021, targets the top 10 disposable plastic products that wash up on European shores, provided that consumers have alternatives.
  • The European Parliament votes by 560 to 35 in favour of banning 10 single-use plastics.
  • They include plates, balloon sticks, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.
  • EU countries can choose their own methods of reducing the use of other single-use plastics such as takeout containers and cups for beverages.
  • They will also have to collect and recycle at least 90 percent of beverage bottles by 2029.
  • Tobacco companies will be required to cover the costs for public collection of cigarette stubs, which are the second most littered single-use plastic item.
  • The ban was approved at the European Parliament on Wednesday, with Lack of targets criticised
  • The EU recycles only a quarter of the 25 million tonnes of plastics waste it produces every year.
  • Marine litter has come under the spotlight because 85 % of it is plastic.
  • Growing concerns about plastic pollution in oceans and stories of dead whales with plastic in their stomachs, together with China's decision to stop processing waste have prompted the bloc to take more drastic steps to tackle the issue.
  • Environmentalist group Greenpeace welcomed the ban but criticised the lack of targets for EU countries to follow on some plastics.