Protecting the seas With these measures, the EU wants to curb plastic consumption

Protecting the seas With these measures, the EU wants to curb plastic consumption

Protecting the seas With these measures, the EU wants to curb plastic consumption

Drinking cocktails with a plastic straw? Picnicking with plastic cutlery? That should soon be a thing of the past – because the EU wants to ban certain plastic products to protect the environment and marine animals. In May, she presented a proposal to contain plastic waste. The EU Parliament tightened these ideas in a vote on Wednesday in part – for example with a longer list of bans.

Now a compromise has to be found with the Member States. If this works as planned in the coming year, the new rules will come into force in 2021 at the latest. So far there has been no fundamental resistance from the ranks of the member states. In addition to bans, the parliament and the propose a whole range of other ideas with which the plastic flood should be contained.

Most noticeable for consumers, however, would be the planned ones, which are only used once. This includes straws, plastic dishes and cutlery, cotton swabs and balloon holders. The EU Parliament added other products to this list: Fast-food boxes made of foamed plastic and the so-called oxoplastic, which is marketed as biodegradable but, according to critics, disintegrates into microplastic.

Only items for which the EU Commission believes that there are alternatives are to be banned. As a substitute for plastic drinking straws, for example, straws made of paper or reusable straws made of harder plastic are possible. Cotton swabs are also available with wood or cardboard, balloon holders made of metal, and disposable cutlery made of wood.

should be introduced by the EU states for plastic products, which so far cannot be easily replaced by other materials. This applies above all to containers for food: for example plastic cups, boxes for sandwiches and packaging for fruit, vegetables, desserts or ice cream. Parliament calls for the consumption of such packaging to fall by a quarter by 2025. How this is done is left to the Member States. One approach would be that single-use plastic packaging will only be given out for money in the future. Member States could also promote alternatives.

All member states should also collect at least 90 percent of plastic beverage bottles for recycling by 2025, for example with the help of a one-way deposit, as in Germany.

Another approach is that. In the future, many packaging will contain information about this: on correct disposal and on the potential damage that the product could cause in the environment. Such warnings should come, for example, for sanitary towels, tampons and wet wipes.

The EU Parliament also wants. The filters often contain plastic, and a single stub can pollute up to 1000 liters of water. The MPs want the amount of waste from plastic cigarette filters to drop by 80 percent by 2030. There are also filters without plastic.

There is also one dedicated to cleaning up the environment. So far, it has mainly been the taxpayers or the tourism industry who have paid for this.

All of these suggestions are designed to help curb the plastic tide in the oceans. All over the world, but also in Europe, enormous amounts of plastic are used and then thrown away. According to the EU Commission, just under a third of plastic waste is collected and recycled. Much of the rest ends up in landfills or in the environment. Plastic breaks down very slowly and accumulates particularly in the sea and on beaches. Up to 85 percent of all waste washed up in the EU is made of plastic – around half of these are disposable products that are thrown away. Plastic traces in fish also get onto people’s plates.