EU ban on throwaway plastics by 2021, backed today by MEPs

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EU ban on throwaway plastics by 2021 backed by MEPsMEPs have backed an EU ban on polluting throwaway plastics by 2021, this will include, single-use cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers and balloon sticks, which makes up over 70% of marine litter.

The draft plans were approved on Wednesday by the Environment and Public Health Committee. The report was drafted by Frédérique Ries and adopted with 51 votes to 10, with 3 abstentions,

MEPs have also added very lightweight plastic bags oxo-plastics and fast-food containers made of expanded polystyrenes, there will be reduction measures for plastics where no alternatives available and reduction measures for cigarette filters and lost fishing gear.

It was also noted that 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.

MEPs said that this includes single-use burger boxes, sandwich boxes or food containers for fruits, vegetables, desserts or ice creams.

Member states will draft national plans to encourage the use of products suitable for multiple use, as well as re-using and recycling.

The report said that other plastics, such as beverage bottles, will have to be collected separately and recycled at a rate of 90% by 2025.

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.

It was explained that just one cigarette butt can pollute between 500 and 1000 litres of water, and thrown on the roadway, it can take up to twelve years to disintegrate. They are the second most littered single-use plastic items.

The report noted that 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, it said.

It was also said that member states would have to ensure that tobacco companies cover the costs of waste collection for those products, including transport, treatment and litter collection. “The same goes for producers of fishing gear containing plastic, who will need to contribute to meeting the recycling target.”

The report will be put to a vote by the full House during its 22-25th October plenary session in Strasbourg.

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