The European Union (EU) has proposed a new plan to ban single-use plastics such as straws among others which are most often found on Europe's beaches and seas, in bid to reduce marine litter.
The new rules will focus on limiting single-use plastics use through a national reduction in consumption; design and labeling requirements and waste management/clean-up obligations for producers.
EU First vice president Frans Timmermans said : “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.”
According to the EU, the 10 single-use plastic products and fishing gear together account for 70% of the marine litter in Europe.
The new rule calls on banning of plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons.
However, single-use drinks containers made with plastic will be allowed if the caps and lids remain attached.
Additionally, the rule entails member states to reduce the use of plastic food containers and drinks cups by promoting alternatives for sale or ensuring they are not offered free.
Producers must also contribute to the costs of waste management. They will be offered incentives to develop less polluting alternatives.
The plan also calls member countries to collect 90% of single-use plastic drinks bottles by 2025.
Moreover, producers must clearly label products and inform consumers how the waste should be disposed.
The Commission’s proposals are subject to approval by the European Parliament and Council for adoption.