Representatives from the European Union’s 28 member states have agreed to a ban on some single-use plastics, including plastic cutlery, plates and straws, as part of a plan to cut plastic pollution in the ocean and increase the use of recycled plastic.
Back in May, the European Commission put forward the proposal for a European Directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.
Also included in the ban will be plastic cotton buds, drink stirrers, and single-use plastic and polystyrene food and drink containers.
Once the ban is formally approved, countries will have two years to implement it.
Almost 60% of the 25.8 million metric tonnes of plastic waste produced in the EU bloc each year comes from packaging. A large percentage is exported to third world countries rather than recycled.
Nearly all plastic found in the ocean is blown there from land where it then has a dramatic effect on marine wildlife. Whales and dolphins can suffer or even die after swallowing or becoming entangled in this manmade debris.
‘This is a milestone in efforts to reduce plastic litter, but the national governments still have a lot to do to make this work,’ says WDC’s plastics policy lead Pine Eisfeld-Pierantonio.
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