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Single Use Plastic Banned By EU – In Britain Too?

* Single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers to be banned by 2021
* 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029
* More stringent application of the “polluter pays” principle

On Wednesday 27th March 2019, the European Parliament approved a new law banning single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery, straws and cotton buds sticks.

560 MEPs voted in favour of the agreement with EU ministers, 35 against and 28 abstained.

The group within the European Parliament, Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD), whose president is Nigel Farage; abstained from the vote in Committee and again in the Parliamentary session which voted on the proposals to ban single use plastics!

Whether or not this ill apply to the UK depends on the outcome of the current Brexit shambles in the UK Parliament, and whether or not the Government will wish to ensure this directive becomes part of UK law. Given some of the outlandish, and to be frank, stupid stance on banning single-use plastics because of it being a EU decision and the ERG group in the Tory party; it is more likely that the needs of business will be put before the needs of the Planet's ecosystem! That said many businesses in the UK see the need for alternatives than single-use plastics.

Those who care about the planet and the future of their children, will see this vote as representing a major step forward in the global fight to reduce plastic pollution which is causing immense damage to the wildlife in our oceans and is now threatening the whole ecological system.

MEP Frédérique RiesLead MEP Frédérique Ries said:

“This legislation will reduce the environmental damage bill by €22 billion - the estimated cost of plastic pollution in Europe until 2030.

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.”

Member states will have to achieve a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25% of recycled content by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

In May 2018 the European Commission explained why they were looking at the problem with the intent to recommend to the European Parliament that single-use plastics be banned:

More than 80% of marine litter is plastics. The European Commission is proposing new EU-wide rules that target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe's beaches and seas, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear. These products are the biggest part of the problem. Together they constitute 70% of all marine litter items.
Due to its slow decomposition, plastic accumulates in seas, oceans and on beaches in the EU and worldwide. Plastic residues are found in marine species – such as sea turtles, seals, whales and birds, but also in fish and shellfish, and therefore in the human food chain.

While plastics are a convenient, adaptable, useful and economically valuable material, they need to be better used, re-used and recycled. When littered, the economic impact of plastics encompasses not just the lost economic value in the material, but also the costs of cleaning up and losses for tourism, fisheries and shipping.

Pic: single use plastic problems - click to download in pdfThe Commission is proposing a comprehensive set of measures to address this problem. The Single Use Plastics Directive is an integral part of the wider approach announced in the Plastics Strategy and an important element of the Circular Economy Action Plan.

It builds on the successful reduction in consumption of single use plastic carrier bags brought about by EU legislation in 2014, and on the newly revised EU waste legislation, which includes targets for the recycling of plastics.

The following products will be banned in the EU by 2021:

* Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks)

* Single-use plastic plates

* Plastic straws

* Cotton bud sticks made of plastic

* Plastic balloon sticks

* Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups

New recycling target and more responsibility for producers

The agreement also strengthens the application of the polluter pays principle, in particular for tobacco, by introducing extended responsibility for producers. This new regime will also apply to fishing gear, to ensure that manufacturers, and not fishermen, bear the costs of collecting nets lost at sea.

The legislation finally stipulates that labelling on the negative environmental impact of throwing cigarettes with plastic filters in the street should be mandatory, as well as for other products such as plastic cups, wet wipes and sanitary napkins.

You can download the briefing to the EU Parliament issued in 2018 which provides the evidence and recommendations for action on single-use plastic waste and fishing gear in the Unionsafety E-Library using search word 'plastic'.

Source: EU Parliament / Global Citizen News


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