With the amount of harmful plastic litter in oceans and seas growing ever greater, the European Commission (EC) is proposing new rules for the European Union (EU) to target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas. The proposed ban will apply to plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers, and sticks for balloons, which will all have to be made exclusively from more sustainable materials instead. In addition, single-use drinks containers made with plastic will only be allowed on the market if their caps and lids remain attached.
The new rules are proportionate and tailored to get the best results, which means different measures will be applied to different products. Where alternatives are readily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market. For products without straight-forward alternatives, the focus is on limiting their use through a national reduction in consumption; design and labeling requirements and waste management/clean-up obligations for producers.
After addressing plastic bags in 2015, 72% of Europeans said they have cut down on their use of plastic bags. The EU is now turning its attention to the 10 single-use plastic products and fishing gear that together account for 70% of the marine litter in Europe. The new rules will introduce:
The Commission’s proposals will now go to the European Parliament and Council for adoption.