After the European Commission and the European Parliament, representatives of EU Member States agreed at a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday on a common position with a view to banning or reducing consumption of single-use plastics that often litter oceans and beaches. On 6 November, the European institutions will begin efforts to reach a common position.
The Commission had proposed in May to ban a dozen disposable products for which there are already alternative solutions. These include cotton swabs, plates, cutlery, balloon sticks, and stirrers.
The Parliament, which discussed a report by Euro-parliamentarian Frédérique Ries (Reformist Movement, MR) two weeks ago, added polystyrene food and drink containers, along with plastic wrapping and straws that are oxy-degradable, i.e. break down into small bits, but are not entirely biodegradable.
With fishing equipment also targeted, single-use plastics represent 70% of marine waste found on European beaches. The European Parliament has also tightened up on the responsibility of producers by highlighting the polluter-pays principle.