Times up for single use plastic
We are all much more aware of the pollution caused by plastic,most of which is beyond Europe and perhaps largely beyond our control. But now the European Union plans to put a blanket ban on many single-use plastics across Europe.
It will mean destructive items such as plastic forks, straws and cotton buds could be outlawed in EU countries.
The European Commission issued a press release detailing the proposal, which could be implemented by 2019 as part of their Plastic Strategy.
Plastics to be banned
1. Plastic cotton buds
2. Plastic cutlery
3. Plastic plates
4. Plastic straws
5. Plastic drink stirrers
6. Plastic sticks for balloons
The new proposed law is great news for the environment and will have a significant impact on reducing marine litter and helping clean up our beaches. At present, 500,000 tonnes of EU plastic waste end up in the sea every year.
First vice-president Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said: 'This Commission promised to be big on the big issues and leave the rest to member states.
'Plastic waste is undeniably a big issue and Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem, because plastic waste ends up in our air, our soil, our oceans, and in our food.
'Today's proposals will reduce single use plastics on our supermarket shelves through a range of measures. We will ban some of these items, and substitute them with cleaner alternatives so people can still use their favourite products.'
Where eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to plastic products are readily available and affordable, single-use plastics will be banned from the market. When this is not the case, however, a reduction in use will be implemented. So there will be different measures for different products.
According to the report, there will also be design and labelling requirements and waste management/clean-up obligations for producers.
Much has to be done to combat plastic pollution, with microplastics being found in our oceans, wildlife and even ending up in our food. The EU hopes to decrease marine litter by half over the next 12 years with member states having to hit targets.