Plastic Oceans: MEPs back EU ban on throwaway plastics by 2021
More than 80% of marine litter is plastics. Single use plastics constitute 70% of all marine litter items. Due to its slow rate of decomposition, plastic accumulates in seas, oceans and on beaches in the EU and worldwide. Plastic residue is found in marine species – such as sea turtles, seals, whales and birds, but also in fish and shellfish, and therefore in the human food chain.
These single use plastic products will be banned from the EU market from 2021, under draft plans approved by Parliament on 24 October 2018. These are items such as plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks or cotton buds.
MEPs added to this list of plastics banned from the EU market from 2021: products made of oxo-degradable plastics, such as bags or packaging and fast-food containers made of expanded polystyrene.
The consumption of several other items, for which no alternative exists, will have to be reduced by member states by at least 25% by 2025. This includes single-use burger boxes, sandwich boxes or food containers for fruits, vegetables, desserts or ice creams. Member states will draft national plans to encourage the use of products suitable for multiple use, as well as re-using and recycling.
Other plastics, such as beverage bottles, will have to be collected separately and recycled at a rate of 90% by 2025.
The EU wants to make producers more accountable. Member states would have to ensure that producers of fishing gear containing plastic need to contribute to meeting the recycling target.
Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE), rapporteur, said: “We have adopted the most ambitious legislation against single-use plastics. It is up to us now to stay the course in the upcoming negotiations with the Council, due to start as early as November. Today’s vote paves the way to a forthcoming and ambitious directive. It is essential in order to protect the marine environment and reduce the costs of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at 22 billion euros by 2030.”
The report, drafted by Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE), was adopted with 571 votes to 53 and 34 abstentions. Parliament will enter into negotiations with Council when EU ministers will have set their own position on the file.
Adessium congratulates its partners Zero Waste Europe, the Surfrider Foundation, Seas at Risk and the European Investigation Agency. They have played a decisive role in achieving this wonderful result. Through the Plastic Solutions Fund, Adessium also contributed to the high-profile campaign that these organizations have carried out together with other NGOs under the name ‘Rethink Plastic Alliance’. This campaign has put the spotlight on reducing the use of disposable plastic.