European Commission plans ban on some single-use plastics

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
?Along with fishing gear, the products highlighted contribute to 70% of marine litter

The European Commission has proposed new rules to target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas.

Single-use plastic products such as cotton buds, plates, straws and drink stirrers will be banned where alternatives are available and affordable.

For products without obvious alternatives, there will be a focus on limiting their use through consumption targets, producer responsibility rules and standardised labels.

Member states will have to reduce the use of plastic food containers and drinks cups by setting national reduction targets.

Producers of items such as packets and wrappers, tobacco products, wet wipes and balloons will be told to help cover the costs of waste management, clean-up and raising awareness.

Labels on sanitary towels, wet wipes and balloons will have to show the presence of plastics in products, negative environmental impacts and instructions of how to dispose.

Along with fishing gear, products highlighted contribute to 70% of marine litter.

Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, said: "Plastic can be fantastic, but we need to use it more responsibly. Single use plastics are not a smart economic or environmental choice, and today's proposals will help business and consumers to move towards sustainable alternatives.”

The Commission hopes the proposals will be treated as a priority file and implemented before the European Parliament elections in May 2019.

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