The European Union parliament has overwhelmingly voted to ban single-use plastics such as straws, forks and knives by 2021.
The ban was backed in a 560-35 vote on Wednesday, and will affect a range of plastic products including plates, balloon sticks and earbuds.
It will also include food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development said: “Today we have taken an important step to reduce littering and plastic pollution in our oceans and seas. We got this, we can do this. Europe is setting new and ambitious standards, paving the way for the rest of the world.”
Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, added: “Once implemented, the new rules will not only prevent plastic pollution, but also make the European Union the world leader in a more sustainable plastic policy. The European Parliament has played an essential role in laying the foundation for this transformation and in giving a chance to the industry to innovate, thus driving forward our circular economy.”
Commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, Karmenu Vella concluded: “We should all be very proud of these new rules because they tackle marine plastic pollution at its source – one of the most called for and supported EU initiatives among European citizens. After the favourable vote by the Parliament today, our main task will be to ensure that these ambitious measures are quickly implemented in practice, which will be common work for public authorities, producers and consumers alike.”
Via Independent / European Commission