EU pro­poses ban on straws and other sin­gle-use plas­tics

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

The Euro­pean Union is propos­ing a ban on sin­gle-use plas­tics to help pro­tect ma­rine life.

The pro­pos­als are aimed at out­law­ing many com­mon­place plas­tic items in­clud­ing straws, cot­ton buds, cut­lery, bal­loon sticks and drink stir­rers.

The govern­ing body also wants al­most all plas­tic bot­tles to be col­lected for re­cy­cling by 2025.

The plan will need to be ap­proved by the 28 mem­ber states and the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment be­fore it can be passed.

The EU es­ti­mates that the ban will help: • avoid 3.4 mil­lion tonnes of car

bon emis­sions • pre­vent dam­age to the en­vi­ron­ment that would cost the equiv­a­lent of €22bn by 2030 • save con­sumers €6.5bn.

"Plas­tic waste is un­de­ni­ably a big is­sue and Eu­ro­peans need to act to­gether to tackle this prob­lem," EU First Vice-Pres­i­dent Frans Tim­mer­mans said.

"To­day's pro­pos­als will re­duce sin­gle-use plas­tics on our su­per­mar­ket shelves through a range of mea­sures.

"We will ban some of these items and sub­sti­tute them with cleaner al­ter­na­tives, so peo­ple can still use their favourite prod­ucts."

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.

The plan does not set a dead­line for a to­tal ban on sin­gle-use plas­tic items such as cot­ton buds, plates and straws.

If it is ap­proved, mem­ber states will need to make an ac­tive ef­fort to re­duce the num­ber of sin­gle-use plas­tic food con­tain­ers and cups avail­able for sale in su­per­mar­kets.

Each coun­try will also have to em­bark on an ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign in which food pro­duc­ers are re­quired to la­bel prod­ucts clearly and in­form con­sumers how plas­tic waste is dis­posed.

In­cen­tives will be given to pro­duc­ers to en­cour­age them to make dis­pos­able plas­tic prod­ucts out of sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als in­stead.

Com­pa­nies that pro­duce plas­tic prod­ucts might also be re­quired to con­trib­ute to waste dis­posal costs - for ex­am­ple, get­ting the mak­ers of plas­tic fish­ing gear to pay for the cost of col­lect­ing waste from a port.

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