EU moves to ban single-use plastics

There are over 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world's oceans

Image There are over 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world's oceans

The European Commission wants to ban single-use plastic products like disposable cutlery, straws and cotton buds to fight the plastic epidemic littering our oceans - months after China banned millions of tons of imported EU waste.

The European Commission has called for a ban on single-use plastic products, including cutlery and straws, in an effort to combat ocean and beach pollution.

The European announcement follows a proposed ban in the United Kingdom of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds - and potential taxes and charges on other single-use items such as food trays.

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The measure would need to be approved by all EU member states and the European Parliament.

European Green Party lawmaker Monica Frassoni also welcomed the initiative and added that "the scale of the problem means that we can not rely on individual European countries to take action and must instead find a Europe-wide response". In addition, it is planned to limit the use of plastic for food packaging.

Awareness-raising measures: European Union countries will be obliged to raise consumers' awareness about the negative impact of littering of single-use plastics and fishing gear as well as about the available re-use systems and waste management options for all these products. The goal of the EC is to reduce the use of plastic, including to reduce the pollution they of seas and oceans, as this is a serious problem, not only for fish and marine life but also for humans.

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"Plastic product bans are not the solution", it said in a statement, and noted that "alternative products may not be more sustainable".

European Commissiom First Vice-President Frans Timmermans gives a joint press with his Vice-President on legislative measures to fight against single-use plastic waste at the EU headquarters in Brussels on May 28, 2018. The measure would have required McDonald's to prepare a report to shareholders about the business risks of using alternatives to plastic straws.

The EU also hopes that this proposal will help to save a total of €22 billion, or approximately $25.5 billion, in environmental damages by 2030.

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Jyrki Katainen, EC Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, commented: "Our collection target for plastic bottles will... help to generate the necessary volumes for a thriving plastic recycling industry".

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