The European Commission on Monday proposed a ban on 10 products containing plastic that can be easily replaced at little cost. The proposed ban includes cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, stir sticks and balloon sticks, which would have to be produced from more sustainable materials.
This “targeted and proportional” initiative only concerns the 10 biggest sources of marine waste in Europe, i.e. the 10 single-use plastic articles most commonly found on EU beaches, Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans explained.
Along with abandoned, lost and discarded fishing equipment, they account for 70% of all marine waste.
Timmermans said that while the EU was perhaps not the foremost contributor to the problem of plastic marine litter, it wished to be the first in solutions, “It’s a race for first place,” he said.
The Commission’s proposal, which also includes consumption-reduction targets, obligations for producers, collection targets and labelling requirements, can also be seen as a response to China’s ban on plastic litter imports, Vice President Jyrki Katainen, Commissioner for Competitiveness, said.
The Commission is hoping for a vote on its proposal before the 2019 European elections.