Single-use plastic items such as cutlery, cotton bud sticks, plates, straws, beverage stirrers and balloon sticks will be banned from the EU market from 2021, under draft plans approved on Wednesday by the Environment and Public Health Committee. Members of the Parliament added to this list also very lightweight plastic bags, products made of oxo-degradable plastics and fast-food containers made of expanded polystyrene.
The consumption of several other items, for which no alternative exists, will have to be reduced by member states in an “ambitious and sustained” manner by 2025. Other plastics, such as beverage bottles, will have to be collected separately and recycled at a rate of 90% by 2025.
MEPs agreed that reduction measures should also cover Fishing gear, which represents 27% of waste found on Europe’s beaches, and waste from tobacco products, in particular cigarette filters containing plastic. One cigarette butt can pollute between 500 and 1000 litres of water, and thrown on the roadway, it can take up to twelve years to disintegrate. They are the second most littered single-use plastic items.