The European Parliament has approved a law banning a wide-range of single-use plastic items, such as straws, cotton buds and cutlery, by 2021.
The law, which was supported by 560 Members of the European Parliament against 35, stipulates that 10 single-use plastic items will be banned in order to curb ocean pollution. The Members also agreed on reaching 90% of collection and recycling of beverage bottles by 2029.
Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s first vice-presidents told CNN “ Europe is setting new and ambitious standards, paving the way for the rest of the world“. He is responsible for sustainable developments.
This new agenda was discussed after founding that plastics make up more than 80 % of marine litter, which has terrible effects on wildlife and habitats.
Several studies have demonstrated that plastic is found inside marine species. Because of its slow rate decomposition, it also makes its way up into the human food chain.
Under the new European law, tobacco companies will be required to cover the costs for the collection of cigarette butts and manufacturers of fishing gear will also have to pay for the retrieval of any plastic nets that have been left at sea.
There’s also a new focus on further raising public awareness, where producers of items such as tobacco filters, plastic cups, sanitary towels and wet wipes will be required to clearly explain to users how to appropriately dispose of them.
The plastics ban was partly driven by China’s decision to stop importing some of the EU’s waste.
The proposals “will help us move on from single-use plastics and toward less consumption, the multiple uses of better-designed products, more innovation and a cleaner environment,” said Margrete Auken, an EU lawmaker for the Greens/EFA group. “The next step is to move away from our waste-based culture.”