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
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
EU countries can choose their own methods of reducing the
use of other single-use plastics such as takeout containers and cups for
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.