EU Parliament's committee backs ban on single-use plastics by 2021

12 October 2018 12:15 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--A number of single-use plastic products will be banned in the EU from 2021, according to draft plans approved this week by the European Parliament's environment and public health committee.

Items such as plates, cutlery, straws, beverage stirrers, balloon sticks or cotton buds, which make up over 70% of marine litter, would be banned following the report's recommendations, which was adopted by 51 votes to 10.

Very lightweight plastic bags, products made of oxo-degradable plastics and fast-food containers made of expandable polystyrene (EPS) were added to the list by members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

For other items where no alternative exists, consumption will have to be reduced by member states in an “ambitious and sustained” manner by 2025, according to the report.

Other plastics, such as beverage bottles, will have to be collected separately and recycled at a rate of 90% by 2025.

Also targeted is waste from tobacco products, in particular cigarette filters containing plastic, which will 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.

“Europe is only responsible for a small part of the plastic polluting our oceans. It can and should be a key player in finding a solution, leading at a global level, as it has done in the past in the fight against climate change," said Frederique Ries, member of the committee.

“Prohibit, reduce, tax, but also replace, warn; the member states have many options to choose from. It is up to them to choose wisely and up to us to keep pushing for more.”

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

By Niall Swan