The results of today’s single-use, throw-away plastic culture can be seen on sea shores and in oceans everywhere. Plastic waste is increasingly polluting the oceans and according to one estimation, by 2050 the oceans could contain more plastic than fish by weight.
New EU rules, adopted by Parliament’s environment committee on 10 October, tackle lost fishing gear and the 10 single-use plastic products most widely found on European shores. Together these two groups account for 70% of marine litter.
A total ban is proposed for single-use plastic items for which alternatives in other materials are already readily available: cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and balloon sticks.
For the rest, a range of other measures is proposed:
- Consumption reduction targets for food containers and drink cups.
- Obligations for producers of items such as wrappers, cigarette filters, wet wipes etcetera to cover the costs of waste-management and clean-up (so called extended producer responsibility).
- Collection target of 90% by 2025 for drink bottles (for example through deposit refund systems).
- Labelling requirements for sanitary towels, wet wipes and balloons to alert users to their correct disposal.
For fishing gear, which accounts for 27% of sea litter, producers would need to cover the costs of waste management from port reception facilities.
Source – European Commission