European parliament votes to ban single-use plastics

European parliament approves new law banning single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery and straws by 2021.

European parliament has approved a new law banning single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery, straws and cotton buds sticks by 2021.

The parliament voted 560 to 35 in favour of banning 10 single-use plastics including single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks), single-use plastic plates, plastic straws, cotton bud sticks made of plastic, plastic balloon sticks, oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups.

Lead MEP Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE) said: “This legislation will reduce the environmental damage bill by €22 billion – the estimated cost of plastic pollution in Europe until 2030. Europe now has a legislative model to defend and promote at international level, given the global nature of the issue of marine pollution involving plastics. This is essential for the planet.”

Member states will have to achieve a 90 per cent collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25 per cent of recycled content by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030.

According to the European Commission, more than 80 per cent of marine litter is plastics. The products covered by this new law constitute 70 per cent of all marine litter items.

Due to its slow rate of decomposition, plastic accumulates in seas, oceans and on beaches in the EU and worldwide. Plastic residue is found in marine species – such as sea turtles, seals, whales and birds, but also in fish and shellfish, and therefore in the human food chain.

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