EU Voted for Complete Ban on Single-Use Plastics by 2021 to Keep Our Oceans Healthier

May 30, 2019 Updated: June 5, 2019

Each year, around 8 million metric tons of plastics find their way into our oceans—this means that every minute, one garbage truck of plastic enters into our waterways.

Illustration – Shutterstock | MOHAMED ABDULRAHEEM

At least 80 percent of ocean litter is plastics—an amount to be slashed over the next few years thanks to a vote to ban one-use plastics in Europe over the next two years. The European Parliament voted on March 27, 2019, to ban all single-use plastic items. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the ban; 560 MEPs voting in favor of the agreement, 35 voting against it, and 28 abstaining.

The ban will come into effect by 2021, saving billions spent on environmental damage according to a press release published by the European Parliament.

“This legislation will reduce the environmental damage bill by 22 billion euros (US$24,658,700,000)—the estimated cost of plastic pollution in Europe until 2030,” MEP Frédérique Ries said.

Frans Timmermans, a European commission vice-president, says Europe is not the worst ocean polluter.

“Today we have taken an important step to reduce littering and plastic pollution in our oceans and seas. We got this, we can do this. Europe is setting new and ambitious standards, paving the way for the rest of the world,” Timmermans said in a press statement.

It is a move that will pave the way for other countries to follow. “Asian countries are very much interested in what we’re doing. Latin American countries too,” he added, according to a report by The Journal.

The European ban stipulates that 90 percent of plastic bottles must be made recyclable by 2030 and must be made of at least 30 percent recycled plastic, and about 25 percent by 2025. Common beach litter such as single-use cutlery, straws, cotton buds, plastic straws, and plastic balloon sticks are high on the list, as well as single-use polystyrene cups and those made from oxo-degradable plastics, and will be banned by 2021.

Illustration – Shutterstock | MichaelJayBerlin

“EUBP (European Bioplastics) has long been warning about the harmful effects of oxo-degradable plastics on the environment as well as the potential damage to the reputation and understanding of truly biodegradable plastics. Several cases of greenwashing and false claims have been reported, over the past years, that have lead to confusion about biodegradation in the general public,” said Hasso von Pogrell, the managing director of European Bioplastics.

Products such as wet wipes, sanitary pads, cups, and tobacco filters will be required to carry a label if they are made with plastic, with a warning to consumers of the environmental damage these products cause if not disposed of correctly.

In addition, manufacturers of fishing nets will be liable for environmental damage costs if nets become lost at sea instead of the burden falling on fishing crews.

Illustration – Shutterstock | Kanittha Boon

This European proposal is hoping to reduce, by half, the top ten single-use plastic items littering European beaches. A large part of the responsibility to reduce plastic use will fall on the manufacturers of such items as food containers, wrappers, wet wipes, cigarette filters, and single-use cups, as they will have to foot part of the cleanup costs.

Watch the video:

The EU approved a ban on single-use plastics

Plastic straws, plastic cotton buds, plastic stirrers… These single-use plastic items will be banned in the European Union by 2021.

اس پر ‏‎Brut nature‎‏ نے شائع کیا جمعہ، 29 مارچ، 2019

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