The European Parliament on Thursday voted in favour of an immediate ban on several single-use plastic products.
The directive includes a ban on some plastic objects for which alternatives are readily available and affordable, such as straws, cutlery or cotton buds. In addition, the use of oxo-degradable plastics (‘walking bags’) will be prohibited. The directive also includes an obligation to ensure producers cover the costs of waste management and clean-up of their products. The rules approved by 571 votes to 53 will now be discussed with the Member States, but Parliament has strongly urged fast adoption.
“Today’s vote is a victory for this legislative priority which will change the way we produce and use plastics in Europe. We have engaged constructively with both the Commission and Council throughout the negotiations, ensuring ambitious rules fully in line with our expectations for a changing market and new ways of thinking”, said Frédérique Ries (ALDE).
“We call on the Member States to engage constructively with Parliament and the Commission to ensure the Directive is finalised as soon as possible”, she added.
The Environment Committee chair also welcomed Parliament’s mandate: “We have succeeded in proving that we can break away from business as usual and innovate. We now need to see concrete action, not only on the legislative front but mainly in terms of enforcement and raising awareness”, said Karima Delli (Greens/EFA).
In a bid to cut down on single-use plastics, the European Union is considering banning plastic straws. EU chiefs are looking into implementing a complete ban on several types of straws and stirrers as part of their ongoing crackdown on single-use plastics. The proposed ban would include plastic straws with a diameter of fewer than eight millimetres, plastic stirrers and plastic sticks for balloons. While the legislation is not yet in place, many bars and restaurants across the UK are looking at alternatives to replace these popular items.
Such alternatives include paper straws or wooden products like kebab sticks or stirring sticks. Paper straws have been given a bad reputation in recent years, mainly due to their lack of durability. Their flexibility makes them susceptible to tearing much more easily than paper straws, which could compromise the safety of people who use them.
While alternatives are being considered, it may be a good idea for businesses to look at ways they can reduce their plastic waste through other methods. They can consider using recyclable or reusable cups, plates and cutlery in order to reduce the number of single-use items they use on a daily basis.
Source: European Parliament News