European Union to put a ban on plastic straws

Thursday, 31 May, 2018

The proposal unveiled on Monday is preparing to ban plastic cotton buds, cutlery and plates, straws, drink stirrers and balloon sticks.

The European Commission has called for a ban on single-use plastic products, including cutlery and straws, in an effort to combat ocean and beach pollution.

The European Commission said its proposal would seek to cut marine litter in half for the 10 most prominent items and avoid environmental damage estimated at over $250 billion over the next dozen years.

The European Commission plans to ban a number of plastic disposable products and to penalize member countries of the EU for plastic trash that is not recyclable, reports DW.

The plastics proposal was widely embraced by conservation campaigners, though they challenged European leaders to go further.

"We anticipate to see an enormous backlash from producers within the subsequent months, who've already been very vocal in opposition to bans and monetary obligations on producers, and who insist voluntary initiatives are sufficient to finish the plastic disaster", Ms. However, only limited measures around consumer awareness of re-use, waste management options and marine litter impact have been introduced to attempt to curb the amount of abandoned nets at sea.

Awareness-raising measures: European Union countries will be obliged to raise consumers' awareness about the negative impact of littering of single-use plastics and fishing gear as well as about the available re-use systems and waste management options for all these products. Single-use drinks containers made with plastic will only be allowed on the market if their caps and lids remain attached.

Unlike EU regulations (such as the new General Data Protection Regulation, Europe's new privacy regime), which apply uniformly across the bloc, EU directives give member states some leeway in how they can implement the new law.

"Plastic can be fantastic, but we need to use it more responsibly", Jyrki Katainen, a European Commission vice president, said in a press release announcing the draft rules. Where there aren't "straight-forward alternatives", the focus will be on limiting their use through a national reduction in consumption.

On a global basis, only 14 percent of plastic is collected for recycling.

Plastic manufacturers in Europe represented by Plastics Europe said that the ban isn't a solution and that more resources should be dedicated to waste management for better collection of plastic.