EU Commission's new proposal to reduce single-use plastics

31 May, 2018, 17:19 | Author: Jacqueline Daniels
  • There are over 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world's oceans

We could see a ban on the use of plastic forks and knives, cotton buds, straws and drinks stirrers across Europe by 2019 under a new proposed law.

"Today's proposals will reduce single-use plastics on our supermarket shelves through a range of measures".

Carbon dioxide emissions are estimated to be reduced by 3.4 million tonnes, as well as saving consumers approximately €6.5 billion, or $7.5 billion Dollars.

Under the Commission's proposal, member states will have to collect 90% of single-use plastic drink bottles by 2025, while products including sanitary towels, wet wipes and balloons will have standardised labelling indicating how they should be disposed and their environmental impact.

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WWF now urges the European Parliament and Council to raise the ambition, set clearer prevention and reduction targets to ensure a level playing field across the EU, and include additional measures to reduce plastic from fishing activities. However, only limited measures around consumer awareness of re-use, waste management options and marine litter impact have been introduced to attempt to curb the amount of abandoned nets at sea. This is why the European Commission plans to ban single-use plastic products.

And unlike so many European Union proposals that are immediately criticized by consumer and environmental groups as too little too late, the reaction was largely positive on Monday.

The NGOs also said that the draft fails to address the presence of hazardous substances used in single-use plastic products, which can easily leak into the environment and in our food chain.

"Plastic waste is a big issue and Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem", EU First vice president Frans Timmermans said.

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He added that there would be a particular emphasis on substituting banned or reduced items with eco-friendly alternatives. "There is no reason why we shouldn't ban unnecessary single-use plastic items when durable and toxic free alternatives already exist." .

The EC estimated that the environmental damage caused by single-use plastics could cost up to 233 billion euros ($271 billion) by 2030.

The EU executive proposed to cut funds to poorer regions of the bloc in the 2021-2027 budget, in a move expected to trigger fresh criticism from Poland, Hungary and other eastern European states that have relied on EU funds in recent years to fuel strong economic growth.

Plastic manufacturers in Europe represented by Plastics Europe said that the ban isn't a solution and that more resources should be dedicated to waste management for better collection of plastic.

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