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Europe Is Set to Do the World's Oceans a Solid By Banning Several Single-Use Plastic Items

The EU is planning to phase out plastic cutlery, plates, stirrers and straws, as well as cotton buds and balloon sticks, by 2021.
By Sarah Ward
October 27, 2018
By Sarah Ward
October 27, 2018

Australia is just getting accustomed to life without single-use plastic bags; however Europe is set to go one step further, backing a directive to ban a number of single-use plastic items within the European Union.

The European parliament's plan was drawn up to specifically combat the growing amount of plastic that's clogging up the world's oceans, specifically targeting plastic cutlery, plates, stirrers and straws, as well as cotton buds and balloon sticks. And the target date for phasing out these products is soon: 2021.

The EU's highlighted items rank among the top ten products found in the sea, the directive states, with reducing the consumption of food containers and beverage cups also on the agenda. By 2025, all EU members will also be required to collect 90 percent of single-use plastic beverage bottles for recycling, while awareness campaigns will ramp up for the likes of general plastic packets and wrappings, sanitary items such as wet wipes and sanitary towels, and cigarette butts.

The draft legislation received overwhelming support, passing 571 votes to 53, although it's not yet law. It is, however, the latest recognition that the war on waste is one that needs serious attention. The British parliament announced plans to go plastic-free earlier in the year, France has banned plastic plates, cups and cutlery from 2020, while the Australian government has pledged to ensure that 100 percent of the country's packaging is recyclable, compostable or reusable in the next seven years. And that's on top of the flurry of supermarketsbig name brandswell-known food chains and furniture behemoths making their own commitments to reduce, recycle or eradicate single-use plastics from their operations.

Published on October 27, 2018 by Sarah Ward
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