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European Parliament Approves Banning Single Use Plastic

by | November 6, 2018

The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to enact a wide-ranging baning on single use plastic products — such as drinking straws and disposable cutlery — across the European Union and a reduction on others in an effort to tackle ploution.

MEPs passed the measure overwhelmingly, by a vote of 571 to 53, with 34 abstentions.

Banning single use plastic will include plastic cutlery and plates, cotton buds, straws, drink-stirrers, and balloon sticks and calls for a reduction in single-use plastic for food and drink containers like plastic cups. Under the proposed directive, single-use plastics would be banned by 2021, and 90% of plastic bottle recycled by 2025.

banning single use plastic
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Banning Single Use Plastic

One MEP said, if no action was taken, “by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans”.

The European Commission proposed banning single use plastic in May, following a public outcry attributed to documentaries such as David Attenborough’s BBC Blue Planet series.

The measure still has to clear some procedural hurdles, but is expected to go through. The EU hopes it will go into effect across by 2021.

Labour MEPs said the EU plan must be respected by the UK after Brexit. Seb Dance, the party’s environment spokesman in the European parliament, said: “These new measures will slash the use of single-use plastics in the EU. With more than 700,000 plastic bottles littered in the UK every day, it would be negligent if the UK does not maintain these new targets if we leave the EU.”

“Unless the UK mirrors EU action on plastics after Brexit, the Tories risk turning the UK into a dumping ground for cheap, non-recyclable plastics.”

MEPs also added amendments to the plans for cigarette filters, a plastic pollutant that is common litter on beaches. Cigarette makers will have to reduce the plastic by 50% by 2025 and 80% by 2030.

Before the legislation goes into effect, the European Parliament has to negotiate with the European Council of government ministers from its member states. The council is expected to make a decision December 16th on banning single use plastic.

“We have adopted the most ambitious legislation against single-use plastics. It is up to us now to stay the course in the upcoming negotiations with the Council,” Belgian MEP Frédérique Ries said in a news release. “It is essential in order to protect the marine environment and reduce the costs of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at 22 billion euros by 2030.”

After Wednesday’s European parliamentary vote, the environment commissioner, Karmenu Vella, said: “Today we are one step closer to eliminating the most problematic single use plastic products in Europe. It sends a clear signal that Europe is ready to take decisive, coordinated action to curb plastic waste and to lead international efforts to make our oceans plastic-free.”

Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]



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