The European Commission has proposed a ban on a number of plastic items, including cutlery, straws, plates, stirrers, and cotton swabs.
Ten items reportedly “make up 70% of all litter in EU waters and on beaches,” prompting the European Commission to propose the ban.
The items flagged by the European Commission include cotton swabs, plastic cutlery, plastic plates, straws, drink stirrers, balloon sticks, food containers, beverage cups, beverage containers, cigarette butts, plastic bags, crisp packets, sweet wrappers, wet wipes, sanitary products, and fishing gear.
“The draft rules were unveiled Monday but need the approval of all EU member states and the European Parliament. It could take three or four years for the rules to come into force,” reported CNN Money on Monday. “The legislation is not just about banning plastic products. It also wants to make plastic producers bear the cost of waste management and cleanup efforts, and it proposes that EU states must collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles by 2025 through new recycling programs.”
“The European Commission estimates that these rules, once fully implemented in 2030, could cost businesses over €3 billion ($3.5 billion) per year,” CNN Money explained. “But they could also save consumers about €6.5 billion ($7.6 billion) per year, create 30,000 jobs, and avoid €22 billion ($25.6 billion) in environmental damage and cleanup costs.”
In a statement, EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans declared, “Plastic waste is undeniably a big issue and Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem, because plastic waste ends up in our air, our soil, our oceans, and in our food.”
The proposal was praised as “a leap forward in tackling plastic pollution” by the Rethink Plastic Alliance.