MEPs back EU ban on polluting single - use plastics by 2021
Single-use plastic items, for which alternatives are readily available and affordable, such as plates, cutlery or cotton buds, which make up a big part of marine litter, will be banned under plans backed by the European Parliament today.
In the report drafted by Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE), single-use plastic products such as cutlery, cotton bud sticks, plates, straws and beverage stirrers will be banned from the EU market from 2021.
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. This includes single-use burger boxes, sandwich boxes or take-away food containers for fruits, vegetables, desserts or ice creams.
Plastic beverage bottles, will have to be collected separately and recycled at a rate of 90% by 2025.
EU countries will have to ensure that at least 50% of lost or abandoned fishing gear containing plastic is collected per year, with a recycling target of at least 15% by 2025. Fishing gear represents 27% of waste found on Europe’s beaches.
Commenting after the vote today, Frédérique Ries MEP, the Parliament’s rapporteur, said:
“I am delighted my report was supported so comprehensively and I hope we can move quickly to finalise an ambitious final agreement with EU Governments. Plastic pollution is the scourge of our oceans; it is time to fight back. Today we have delivered a response to plastic pollution that citizens and our planet demand.”
“Europe is only responsible for a small part of the plastic polluting our oceans. It can and should, however, be a key player in finding a solution, leading at a global level, as it has done in the past in the fight against climate change. Prohibit, reduce, tax, but also replace, warn; EU Governments have many options to choose from. It will be up to them to choose wisely and up to us to keep pushing for more."
Gerben - Jan Gerbrandy MEP, Co-ordinator for the ALDE Group on the European Parliament's Environment Committee added:
"Who says we can't make a difference? European action against plastic bags was highly effective, driving innovation and alternative options. Now we need to do the same for single use plastics."
"Today, Parliament has delivered an ambitious package to prevent waste and protect the environment. It is now up to Member States to match our ambition. Let's see whether the EU is really willing to be a pioneer and finally take action against plastic waste."