The European Parliament has just voted to confirm the Single Use Plastics Directive. The Directive, which was agreed between the three main EU institutions back in December, will see a ban on single-use items such as straws, cutlery and cotton buds, as well as a complete ban on plastic cups and food containers made out of expanded polystyrene.
Bas Eickhout, MEP and co-leading candidate at the European Green Party said:
“The EU has finally woken up to the fact that we need to radically change our approach to the production and usage of plastics in our daily lives. Mountains of plastic trash have for decades degraded our environment and clogged our seas and this Single-Use Plastics Directive might be a first step towards reversing that trend.
“We are tired of hearing empty promises from industry claiming to tackle the problem. Instead of cutting back on plastic production it has soared year after year. This move will result in the banning of single-use plates, cutlery, stirrers and other items that often end up littering our shorelines.
“We need to be frank with ourselves that our love affair with a waste-based culture must end. If human beings hope to avoid going the way of the single-use coffee cup, we’ll have to act creatively and industriously to come up with new circular models that can help us to live sustainably and in harmony with our environment."
The Directive also includes provisions for the clean-up and disposal of cigarette butts by the tobacco industry (in line with the polluter pays principle), collection targets for drinks bottles, and a requirement to redesign drinks caps to tether them to bottles. It adds national consumption-reduction targets for cups and food containers, and - as a result the hard work of Green MEPs in the European parliament - provides for a complete ban on oxo-degradable plastic, which is often labelled as biodegradable but in in reality fragments into microplastics.