Tuesday 15 October 2019

EU bans 10 single-use plastics to curb litter

Plastic straws are among the items that will be banned in the European Union by 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo
Plastic straws are among the items that will be banned in the European Union by 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

Clare Roth

Single-use plastic items such as straws, knives and forks, as well as cotton buds, will be banned in the European Union by 2021 following a vote by EU lawmakers as the bloc pushes manufacturers to step up recycling efforts.

Growing concerns about plastic pollution in oceans and reports of dead whales with plastic in their stomachs, together with China's decision to stop processing waste, have prompted the EU to take more drastic steps.

Marine litter has come under the spotlight because 85pc of it is plastic.

The European Parliament voted by 560 to 35 in favour of banning 10 single-use plastics including plates, balloon sticks, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic. These are the 10 most found items on EU beaches.

EU countries will have to collect and recycle at least 90pc of beverage bottles by 2029.

Tobacco companies will be required to cover the costs for public collection of cigarette stubs, the second most littered single-use plastic item.

Irish Independent

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