Oct 29, 2018

European Parliament Approves Ban on Single-Use Plastics

The ban will be instituted by 2021

EU bans single-use plastics and encourages recycling drinking water bottles
EU bans single-use plastics and encourages recycling drinking water bottles

The European Parliament approved a ban on single-use plastics in Europe by 2021. The proposal was overwhelmingly approved on a vote of 571 to 53 and includes bans on single-use plastics such as straws, plates, cotton-swabs, plastics bags and food packaging. The ban aims to prevent plastic waste from polluting waterways and encourages sustainable drinking water practices.

The European Commission proposed the legislation in May 2018, following research that determined plastics make up 80% of marine litter on European beaches. Furthermore, the study found that marine litter costs the European Union $295 million to $793 million per year, as reported by the New York Times. The World Economic Forum estimates that 90% of the world’s plastic waste finds its way to the ocean and that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.

“We have adopted the most ambitious legislation against single-use plastics,” said Frédérique Ries, the member of the European Parliament who drafted the bill. “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.”

According to BBC, the list of banned items was determined based off of items that have readily available alternatives, such as paper straws and cardboard containers. Other items without alternatives will be required to have 25% reduction in each country by 2025. An additional goal set is to ensure 90% of all plastic drink bottles are collected for recycling by 2025.

Next, the European Parliament will enter into negotiations with the European Council of government ministers for the 28 member states. A final decision will be made by Dec. 16.