European Parliament approves law banning single-use plastic items by 2021

  • 2019-03-28
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The European Parliament on Wednesday approved a new law banning single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery, straws and cotton bud sticks, in the European Union by 2021.

Altogether 560 MEPs voted in favor of the agreement, 35 against and 28 abstained, spokespeople for the European Parliament said.

Thus, the products that will be banned in the EU by 2021 include single-use plastic cutlery, that is forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks, single-use plastic plates, plastic straws, cotton bud sticks made of plastic, plastic balloon sticks, Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups.

Member states will also have to achieve a 90 percent collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25 percent of recycled content by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030.

The agreement also strengthens the application of the "polluter pays" principle, in particular for tobacco, by introducing extended responsibility for producers. This new regime will also apply to fishing gear, to ensure that manufacturers, and not fishermen, bear the costs of collecting nets lost at sea.

The legislation finally stipulates that labeling on the negative environmental impact of throwing cigarettes with plastic filters in the street should be mandatory, as well as for other products such as plastic cups, wet wipes and sanitary napkins.

Rapporteur Frederique Ries said that this legislation will reduce the environmental damage bill by 22 billion euros -- the estimated cost of plastic pollution in Europe until 2030.

"Europe now has a legislative model to defend and promote at international level, given the global nature of the issue of marine pollution involving plastics. This is essential for the planet," Ries said.