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MEPs vote in favour of single-use plastics ban

Wednesday, 27 March, 2019 - 17:12

EU lawmakers have voted in favor of banning single-use plastics to reduce ocean pollution.

Among the 10 products concerned are plates, balloon sticks, containers for food and drinks, cutlery, straws and stirrers. The law, approved by MEPs on  Wednesday, will come into effect in 2021.

The measure comes after a study by the European Commission found that plastic was responsible for 85 percent of marine litter. Plastic have been found in species such as fish, turtles and shellfish and, by extension, in foods eaten by humans.

In addition to the ban on single-use plastics, the Member States of the European Parliament will be required, by 2029, to collect and recycle at least 90 percent of the plastic bottles sold as beverage containers.

Tobacco companies will also play a role in taking over the costs of collecting cigarette butts, which are the second most discarded disposable plastic items.

The “polluter pays” principle will also be applied to producers of products such as plastic cups, sanitary napkins and wet wipes, all of which must come with directions to consumers on how to dispose of them properly.

The packaging will also include warnings on the environmental impacts of these products. 

The plastic anti-pollution measure was adopted by a large majority, with 560 deputies in the European Parliament for, 35 against and 28 abstentions. The law seeks to avoid nearly 22 billion euros of environmental damage by 2030.

“Today we have taken an important step in reducing plastic waste and plastic pollution in our oceans and seas,” said Vice President Frans Timmermans in a statement. “Europe sets ambitious new standards, setting the stage for the rest of the world.”

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