EU Adopts Ambitious Measures to Tackle Marine Plastic Litter
The Council of the EU has adopted ambitious measures proposed by the Commission to tackle marine litter coming from the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on European beaches, as well as abandoned fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics.
The rules on Single-Use Plastics items and fishing gear envisage different measures to apply to different products and places the EU at the forefront of the global fight against marine litter. Where alternatives are easily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market, such as cutlery, plates and straws. For other products, the focus is on limiting their use through a national reduction in consumption; on design and labeling requirements; and waste management/clean-up obligations for producers.
The new rules are proportionate and tailored to get the best results. This means different measures will be applied to different products.
The new rules will introduce:
- A ban on selected single-use products made of plastic for which alternatives exist on the market: cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, sticks for balloons, as well as cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and on all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.
- Measures to reduce consumption of food containers and beverage cups made of plastic and specific marking and labeling of certain products.
- Extended Producer Responsibility schemes covering the cost to clean-up litter, applied to products such as tobacco filters and fishing gear.
- A 90% separate collection target for plastic bottles by 2029 (77% by 2025) and the introduction of design requirements to connect caps to bottles, as well as target to incorporate 25% of recycled plastic in PET bottles as from 2025 and 30% in all plastic bottles as from 2030.
More information can be found here: https://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-2631_en.htm
Plastic pollution is becoming a major issue, not only in the UK but Worldwide. Some plastic is good as it can be recycled and reused, however the main concern is single use plastic which is used only once and then discarded and is resistant to many natural processes of degradation.
UK consumers use an estimated 13 billion plastic drinks bottles a year, but more than 3 billion are incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute our streets, countryside and marine environment.
The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove said: “We have already banned harmful microbeads and cut plastic bag use, and now we want to take action on plastic bottles to help clean up our oceans. It is absolutely vital we act now to tackle this threat and curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled.”Source: gov.uk
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