EU Parliament Votes to Ban Single-Use Plastics

Connector Fall 2018

The European Union Parliament has voted to ban single-use plastics. Parliament, the EU’s legislative body comprised of 751 elected members (MEPs), voted 571-53 in favor of the bill. Banned items will include plastic plates, cutlery, and straws, and the proposal also calls for a reduction in the use of other single-use food and beverage containers such as plastic cups, according to the BBC.

The European Commission, which proposes legislation to the EU Parliament, put forward the ban in May in response to ongoing public awareness of and outcry against plastic pollution, particularly in the world’s oceans. The MEP behind the bill, Frédérique Ries, called the vote “a victory for our oceans, for the environment and for future generations.”

The EU, the world’s second-largest consumer market after the United States, hopes the ban could go into effect across the bloc as early as 2021. If the ban becomes a fully-formed directive before the end of the Brexit transition, the United Kingdom will have to incorporate the guidelines into national law.

MEPs agreed that reduction measures should also cover waste from tobacco products, in particular cigarette filters containing plastic. It would have to be reduced by 50% by 2025 and 80% by 2030.

Member states should also 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.

Source: European Parliament and Fortune