EU-wide rules target 10 single-use plastic products that the commission says make up 70 percent of marine litter items. The ban will apply to cotton swabs, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers, and balloon sticks, meaning those products would need to be made exclusively from more sustainable materials.
“The European Commission estimates that these rules, once fully implemented in 2030, could cost businesses over $3.5bn per year,” Alanna Petroff wrote. “But they could also save consumers about $7.6bn per year, create 30,000 jobs, and avoid $25.6bn in environmental damage and cleanup costs.”
The proposed rules also say:
Producers will help cover the costs of waste management and cleanup as well as awareness raising measures for food containers, packets and wrappers, drinks containers and cups, tobacco products with filters, wet wipes, balloons, and lightweight plastic bags
The industry will be given incentives to develop less polluting alternatives for products
Certain products like sanitary towels, wet wipes, and balloons will require a clear and standardized labeling showing how waste should be disposed, the negative environmental impact of the product, and the presence of plastics in them
Under the new rules, EU member states must reduce the use of plastic food containers and drinks cups by setting national reduction targets, making alternative products available at the point of sale, or ensuring that single-use plastic products cannot be provided free of charge. Member states will also be required to raise consumer awareness about single-use plastics and collect 90 percent of single-use plastic drink bottles by 2025.
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.