European Union targets 10 single-use plastic products in new proposals

EU proposes bloc-wide ban on single-use plastics

EU proposes bloc-wide ban on single-use plastics

The EU is now turning its attention to the 10 single-use plastic products and fishing gear that together account for 70% of the marine litter in Europe.

Unlike EU regulations (such as the new General Data Protection Regulation, Europe's new privacy regime), which apply uniformly across the bloc, EU directives give member states some leeway in how they can implement the new law. Alongside coffee cups, cotton buds, plates, straws and stirrers, these things may not be a problem in isolation, but together they're an environmental epidemic.

Although the European Union executive has made no secret of the fact that bringing plastic-use under control will require heavy involvement from industry, CEO criticised the Commission for choosing to reach out to lobby groups in order to try and secure voluntary commitments. This means different measures will be applied to different products.

Under the proposal, single-use plastic products with readily available alternatives will be banned and replaced with more environmentally sustainable materials.

He added that there would be a particular emphasis on substituting banned or reduced items with eco-friendly alternatives.

The plan does not set a deadline for a total ban on single-use plastic items such as cotton buds, plates and straws.

EU Vice President Frans Timmermans said that utensils would not be banned completely, but steps would be taken to have them made out of sustainable materials when possible.




Stakeholders from the plastics manufacturing trade and the fishing gear trade typically favored the European Fee's proposal and indicated that additional motion was needed, and even pressing.

He proved to be wrong. At the press briefing, Timmermans admitted that he had "completely" underestimated the issue.

The Commission writes now that tackling the plastics problem is a must and can bring new opportunities for innovation, competitiveness and job creation.

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.

Now the costs of littering of single-use plastic items are met by the public sector and the clean-up responsibility is unclear.

The Commission also said it would force producers to assist on covering the costs of waste management and clean-up, as well as awareness-raising measures for food containers, packets, and crisps packets and candies, drink containers and cups, cigarette butts, wet wipes, sanitary pads, balloons, and lightweight plastic bags.

According to the Commission, its proposal-now open for consultation-would have major economic and environmental benefits.

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