EU Parliament Moves to Ban Single-Use Plastics

Plastic waste in the ocean

Plastic waste in the ocean

A wide range of plastic items which have existing alternatives, including cutlery, plates, drinks stirrers, balloon sticks and polystyrene fast food containers, will be banned from the European Union market, while MEPs also supported a target to cut use of plastic food containers where there are now no alternatives by 25% by 2025.

Under the proposal, overwhelmingly backed by the European Parliament, some single-use plastic products with readily available alternatives would be banned by 2021.

Focusing on eliminating plastic objects for which there is an alternative, the proposal only had 53 opponents of some 600 voters.

The legislation's rapporteur Frederique Ries said: 'We have adopted the most ambitious legislation against single use plastics.

Many attribute this huge wave of change to the phenomenal response to David Attenborough's BBC Documentary, Blue Planet II, which took a hardline stance against plastic and showed the disgusting reality in our oceans we rarely get to see.

Under the ban, drinks bottles and other plastics will have to be collected separately and recycled at a rate of 90 percent by 2025.

It calls for recylcing at least 15 percent of fishing gear - which accounts for 27 percent of the litter on Europe's beaches - by 2025.

A consortium of European plastics manufacturers called the EU bill "disproportionate" and said banning single-use plastics discourages investment into new ways to recycle.

If approved by the European Commission - the EU executive - and individual states, the ban would become law in 2021.

The EU push to crack down on plastic use follows China's decision to ban imports of foreign waste products for recycling.

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