EU backs 2021 ban on single-use plastics

The new measures are expected to save €22 billion in environmental damages by 2030

Pathway to COP26 report

Plastic cutlery

The EU parliament has voted to ban a wide range of single-use plastics by 2021.

The ban, which was backed in a 560-35 vote, will phase out selected products for which alternatives exist, such as cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, expanded polystyrene containers and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic, which breaks down into harmful micro-particles.

The move also aims to improve the specific marking and labelling of certain products, introduce
Extended Producer Responsibility schemes with regards to cigarettes and fishing gear and target a 90% separate collection rate for plastic bottles by 2029.

The new measures are expected to avoid carbon dioxide emissions of 3.4 million tonnes, save €22 billion (£19bn) in environmental damages by 2030 and save consumers a projected €6.5 billion (£5.6bn).

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said: “Today we have taken an important step to reduce littering and plastic pollution in our oceans and seas.

“We got this, we can do this. Europe is setting new and ambitious standards, paving the way for the rest of the world.”

While EU member states have given their support, they will need to vote on the measure for it to go info effect.

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