European Parliament backs ban on throwaway plastics

© AP images/European Union -EP

Under draft plans approved by the European Parliament yesterday, single-use plastic items including plates, cutlery, straws ticks and cotton buds, are to be banned in the EU from 2021.

In addition, MEPs added to this list products made of oxo-degradable plastics, such as bags or packaging and fast-food containers made of expanded polystyrene.

National reduction targets for other non-banned plastics are also to be set. The usage of a number of other items, for which no alternatives exist – including single-use burger boxes, sandwich boxes and food containers for fruits, veg, desserts or ice creams – will have to be reduced by member states by least 25% by 2025.

National plans will also be drafted to encourage consumption of products suitable for multiple use, as well as re-using and recycling. Other plastics, such as beverage bottles, will have to be collected separately and recycled at a rate of 90% by 2025.

MEPs also agreed that reduction measures should cover waste from tobacco products and lost or abandoned fishing gear containing plastic.

Unless the UK mirrors EU action on plastics after Brexit, the Tories risk turning the UK into a dumping ground for cheap, non-recyclable, plastics.

Commenting on the move, Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE), rapporteur, says: “We have adopted the most ambitious legislation against single-use plastics. It is up to us now to stay the course in the upcoming negotiations with the Council, due to start as early as November. Today’s vote paves the way to a forthcoming and ambitious directive. It is essential in order to protect the marine environment and reduce the costs of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at 22 billion euros by 2030.”

Seb Dance MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on environment, says: “These new measures will slash the use of single-use plastics in the EU, and with more than 700,000 plastic bottles littered in the UK every day, it would be negligent if the UK does not maintain these new targets if we leave the EU.”

“As a result of this new legislation to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics, the European Union will be the first in the world to adopt a blueprint to put an end to plastic litter, both on land and sea,” he adds. “This is in stark contrast to the Tory government and Michael Gove, whose department has published over 20 consultations since the last general election, but not a single piece of primary legislation to tackle plastic waste.

“Unless the UK mirrors EU action on plastics after Brexit, the Tories risk turning the UK into a dumping ground for cheap, non-recyclable, plastics.”

Photo: © AP images/European Union -EP