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plastic pollution

MEPs approve EU-wide ban on range of single use plastics by 2021

The law passed by 560 votes to 35 in the Strasbourg assembly.

MEMBERS OF THE European Parliament have overwhelmingly voted for an EU-wide ban on a range of single-use plastics, such as the straws, cutlery and cotton buds, by 2021.

The new law also sets a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029 and states that recycled materials should make up 25% of each plastic bottle by 2025. That’s to increase to 30% by 2030.

The Single-Use Plastics Directive voted on today passed by 560 votes to 35 in the Strasbourg assembly. 

The measures had been proposed to tackle marine litter coming from the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on European beaches, as well as abandoned fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics.

The EU Commission said the ban is on selected single-use products made of plastic for which alternatives exist on the market. This includes cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, sticks for balloons, as well as cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and on all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.

Commenting on today’s vote, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan said while it is a “positive first step” more needs to be done to reduce plastic waste. 

“The bans are great and they will help but there is a whole range of plastic pollution out there that we need to get to grips with,” Boylan told EuroParlRadio. 

That’s about dealing with that throw-away culture. We see those cheap discount stores, all of those that are always promoting plastic tat basically and telling you that you need to be buying it. 

According to the EU Commission, the products prohibited under the law represent 70% of the waste that pours into the world’s oceans, posing a threat to wildlife and fisheries.

EU Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said Europe was not the worst source of plastic pollution, but that the pioneering measure could serve as an example to the world.

“Asian countries are very much interested in what we’re doing. Latin American countries too,” he said.

“Even though our share of the pollution is relatively limited, our change of the economic model has a global impact.”

Rules insisting that polluters pay the costs of a clean-up are strengthened, particularly for cigarette manufacturers, who will have to support the recycling of discarded filters.

With reporting from © – AFP, 2019 

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