A ban on single-use plastic items including cotton buds, straws and cutlery has been proposed by European Commission and awaits the approval of all European Union member states as well as the European Parliament.
A total of ten items has baeen proposed for the ban and these make up 70 percent of all litter in EU waters and beaches. Plastic drink stirrers and plates are included in the list.
The legislation is seeking producers to bear the cost of waste management apart from banning of the plastic products. Also, with the help of new recycling progams the member states need to collect 90 percent of the single-use bottles by 2025.
A calculation by European Commission estimates the new rule could save consumers about 6.5 billion euros per year, create 30,000 jobs and even avoid 22 billion euros in environmental damage and cleaning costs. However, the cost of businesses could also rise by over 3 billion euros once the law is completely implemented by 2030.
The proposals have been welcomed though some perceived shortcomings are criticized as plastic cups and food containers are not included in the ban list.
On the other hand the plastic industry has criticized the proposal with a different note citing ban of such products isn not the solution and alternative products may not be more sustainable.
In a press statement the Rethink Plastic Alliance said, “This could result in countries claiming they are taking the necessary steps as long as any reduction is achieved, regardless of how small.”
The alliance is an association of environmental organizations.