European Union lawmakers moved on Wednesday (October 24) to ban widely-used, throw-away plastics such as straws and cotton buds, and put a greater burden on manufacturers to recycle in an effort to clear up ocean pollution.
Under the proposal, overwhelmingly backed by the European Parliament, 10 single-use plastic products with readily available alternatives would be banned by 2021. EU states would be obliged to recycle 90 percent of plastic bottles by 2025 and producers to help cover the costs of waste management.
EU lawmaker Frederique Ries, a Belgian liberal who is representing the parliament in negotiations with EU governments, told reporters after the vote that most of the alternatives to the products to be banned were European and not expensive.
The EU recycles only a quarter of the 25 million tonnes of plastics waste it produces per year.
China’s decision to stop processing waste coupled with growing alarm over damage to oceans has pushed the continent to end reliance on developing countries to deal with its waste. Regulators hope the new rules will lead to a drop in the price of recycled plastics.
The EU’s final rules still need to be approved in talks with member states – some of which have balked at the curbs, worried they will be too difficult to implement for the industry. — Reuters