Published: Thu, May 31, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

European Union targets 10 single-use plastic products in new proposals

He added that there would be a particular emphasis on substituting banned or reduced items with eco-friendly alternatives.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany's worldwide broadcaster, the draft law will include a ban on the private use of disposable plastic products like straws, plastic plates, plastic utensils, plastic coffee stirrers, cotton swabs with plastic stems and plastic balloon holders. For products without straight-forward alternatives, the focus is on limiting their use through a national reduction in consumption; design and labelling requirements and waste management/clean-up obligations for producers. As such, market restrictions will be placed on them.

Across the world, plastics make up 85% of marine litter. This wording has been criticised by green NGOs, who warn that it leaves member states too much room for interpretation.

"It is crucial that the concept of reduction remains at the heart of the European Union plastics strategy and pressure is kept on industry to explore alternatives to single-use plastics" she said. Plastic cotton swabs, plates and drink stirrers are also included in the ban.

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan said the proposals were "a step in a right direction but not ambitious enough to meet the threat of plastic pollution".

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The European Commission says that this effort is in order to move the economy away from using these types of products.

CEO released figures on 22 May that show 92 lobby meetings on the Strategy took place in 2017 and that 76% were with individuals representing corporate interests while 17% were with NGOs.

However, the proposal has faced a lot of criticis from the plastics industry.

But that has not stopped the commitments from being made. The objective of the EC is to reduce the use of plastic, including to reduce the pollution they of seas and oceans, as this is a serious problem, not only for fish and marine life but also for humans. Awareness-raising measures will inform citizens of the urgency of reducing plastic litter, and remind them of the available re-use and waste management options. Member states would be able to set national reduction targets, make alternative products available at the point of sale or end the free distribution of the plastic products, the Commission explained. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

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