It seems Brexit is not the only thing the European Union is focusing on, as it appears the 27-member bloc is now starting to push for more environmental reforms. In a shocking move, the European Union has actually proposed a region-wide ban of plastics. What does this move entail? What do figures in various industries have to say about this landmark maneuver? How will this impact the EU’s goals for sustainability within the next two decades?
Today is not a good day for throwaway plastic products such as straws, cutlery, and cotton buds, as a new proposal from the EU may ban all of them across Europe. The ban follows various attempts to reduce plastic waste in Britain, which in itself is part of a global initiative to reduce pollution for the sake of the environment. According to the European Commission, which made the proposal, the ban targets 10 of the most single-use plastic products that are found on the seas and beaches of Europe.
The proposal in itself aims to cut marine litter among those items, which can help stave off at least £188-billion off environmental damage bills over the next decade. This is because marine litter amounts to at least 70-percent of other rubbish found in the waters across Europe.
Under the proposal, single-use plastic products will now be banned if ever affordable alternatives become available. These include the aforementioned sticks for balloons, drink stirrers, straws, plates, cutlery, and cotton buds. These will have to be made from materials that are sustainable. Meanwhile, single-use coffee cups from plastic will now be allowed only if their lids and caps are attached to the cup itself.
According to Frans Timmermans, EU Vice President, Europeans need to act together in order to solve the region’s plastic problem. While the proposal will definitely work towards reducing single-use plastics in markets, the affordable alternatives in the future would hopefully suffice to replace the needs for these plastic products.
The proposal also set out rules on how EU member states will have to participate and meet their personal targets for single-use plastic production. In fact, they’re going to be obligated to collect 90-percent of all throwaway drink bottles that exist in their nations by 2025.
The idea of banning single-use plastics has come from Michael Gove, Environment Secretary in the United Kingdom. However, the government only announced a consultation on the matter, and not a drafted legislation. Either way, the proposal is now up for assessment by member states and the EU parliament.
The Bottomline: What Is It For Plastic?
With the EU directive to ban plastic all over the region, it’s interesting to learn the take of various members and non-members of the bloc on the decision. As to whether or not the endeavor will prove fruitful is yet to be known. However, if this does succeed, then perhaps the rest of the world can follow in the example the EU has set for its peers.
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