EU Votes to Ban Single-Use Plastics

On Wednesday, Parliament voted not to sell disposable plastic items such as plates, cutlery, straws, balloons or plastic cotton swabs.

These products account for over 70% of marine waste and are expected to be withdrawn from the market in the EU by 2021. This is what the measures adopted today by Parliament provide.

MEPs have included products from oxo-degradable materials such as bags or packaging and fast-food expanded polystyrene containers in thelist of banned products.

National reduction targets for other non-prohibited plastics

Consumption of several other articles for which there is no alternative must be reduced by at least 25% by the Member States by 2025. These include disposable burger boxes, sandwich boxes or food containers for fruits, vegetables, desserts or ice cream. Member States should encourage the use of products that are multi-use and that, if turned into waste, can be prepared for re-use and recycling. To this end, they should develop plans at national level.

By 2025, 90% of all other plastic items, such as plastic disposable bottles, will have to be collected and recycled separately

Cigarette filter and lost fishing tackle

The draft law also provides for reduction measures for waste from tobacco products, in particular for plastic-containing cigarette filters. They are to be reduced by 50 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2030.

A cigarette butt can contaminate between 500 and 1000 liters of water. Thrown into the street, it can take up to twelve years to disintegrate. Cigarette butts are the second most frequently thrown away disposable plastic.

EU Member States should also ensure that at least 50 percent of the lost or discarded plastic-containing fishing gear is collected each year, with a recycling target of at least 15 percent by 2025. The fishing gear accounts for 27 percent of all European beach waste.

Manufacturers take responsibility

The EU Member States must, according to the draft legislation, ensure that tobacco companies pay for the waste collection of these products. This includes the transport and treatment of the waste. The same applies to manufacturers of plastic-containing fishing gear. They too must help to achieve the recycling target.

Hülya Karahan: The Founder