EU bans single-use plastic items

Single-use plastic items like food, plates, balloon sticks, forks, knives, straws and beverage containers will be completely banned in European Union countries from 2021. The measure is aimed to push manufacturers step up recycling efforts.

The ban was approved on Wednesday by European Union legislators and targets top 10 disposable plastic products that wash up on shores.

The countries however can choose their own methods on how to reduce use of other single-use plastics like cups for beverages and takeout containers.

The legislators add with the ban the consumers should have alternatives and manufacturers of plastic items need to recycle about 90 percent of beverage bottles by 2029.

The second most littered plastic item in single-use segment is cigarette stubs in EU nations. To overcome the pollution tobacco companies are directed to cover up costs for public collection of the stubs.

A total of 560 legislators voted in favor of the ban while 35 opposed it. Number of abstained legislators was 28 at the European Parliament.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said, “Today, we have taken an important step to reduce littering and plastic pollution in our oceans and seas… We got this, we can do this. Europe is setting new and ambitious standards, paving the way for the rest of the world.”

Every year about 25 million tonnes of plastics waste are produced and EU recycles just 25 percent of it.

Meanwhile, lobbying group EuroCommerce said governments should act in helping successful recycling.

Members in the group include Correfour, Metro, Lidl and Tesco.

Paul Linus