Europe to ban straws, cutlery and other common throwaway plastics

EU in drive to rid environment of plastic waste

EU in drive to rid environment of plastic waste

"Single-use plastics are not a smart economic or environmental choice, and today's proposals will help business and consumers to move towards sustainable alternatives", the former Prime Minister of Finland said.

Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen explained during the release of the proposal though that a separate collection target for single-use bottles will indeed apply in 2025, equal to the "median level of collection rate of existing (...) bottle deposit refund schemes in the European Union (90%)".

The EU proposals will need to be approved by the EU's 28 member states.

Assuming multi-year financial planning of the European Commission, this fee may be 80 cents per kilogram, which will go to the overall European budget, he said.

The implementation of an EU-wide ban would pave the way for the United Kingdom and its devolved governments to introduce national bans without fear of going against the rules of the Single Market. Instead, the focus would be on limiting use through national measures. These include offering city-wide programs for reusable mugs and reusable straws, only giving single-use utensils to customers when requested, and ceasing distribution of disposable cups and single-use plastic bags, or placing a tax on both items.

The EU's proposals are targeting disposable food containers and dining ware, from plastic plates and cups, to packaging for food products such as fast food.

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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.

Producers will also be required to chip in the cost of waste management and label how waste will be disposed, "the negative environmental impact of the product, and the presence of plastics in the products".

Plastic cutlery would not be banned completely, Mr Timmermans said, but steps would be taken to have them made out of sustainable material where possible.

Despite many public and local government initiatives to recycle plastic, according to the report, only 14 percent of all plastic used globally 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.

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