European Parliament approves ban on single-use plastics

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European lawmakers have approved a new law banning single-use plastic items, to move in impact 2021.

This is the best way to do it. You view an issue — in this instance, this 80 percentage of marine litter is plastic, and it’s decimating wildlife and destroying the marine environment — and also you make legislation to fix it. You do not hem and haw and appeal to lobbyists and corporate interests, you merely say “enough is enough.”

Bravo into the European Parliament for doing exactly that. We reported on the program this past year, however on Wednesday of this week, 560 Members of the European Parliament voted in favour of the arrangement — with 35 voting against — which the following items will be prohibited in the EU by 2021:

• Single-use plastic (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks)
• Single-use plastic discs
• Plastic straws
• Cotton swab sticks made from plastic
• Plastic balloon sticks
• Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers along with expanded polystyrene cups

And that is not all. EU states will need to achieve a 90 percent collection target for plastic bottles 2029, and plastic bottles will need to contain at least 25 percentage of recycled material by 2025 and 30 percentage by 2030.

But wait, there’s more! (What kind of paradise is this location?) There will likewise be stricter application of the “polluter pays” principal in which, get this, the maker pays for recycling, rather than having it turned into the responsibility of the consumer. Tobacco companies will be required to pay the prices for public collection of cigarette butts, which can be the second most littered single-use plastic item. Likewise with fishing equipment; producers, rather than fishermen, will endure the prices of collecting nets dropped at sea.

And why stop there? Other disposable items will require mandatory labeling on the environmental peril of tossing the items. This is for goods like cigarettes with plastic filters, wet wipes, and sanitary napkins.

“This legislation will reduce the environmental damage bill by €22 billion – the estimated cost of plastic pollution in Europe until 2030,” states Lead MEP Frédérique Ries.

“Europe now has a legislative model to defend and promote at international level, given the global nature of the issue of marine pollution involving plastics. This is essential for the planet.”

So while the United States is active banning bans on plastic bags and having cultural wars within straws, thank heavens our savvy neighbors across the pond are still working to create the pond a less polluted one.

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