EU bans single-use plastic and compels more action on collection and recycling
October 26, 2018
This week, the EU agreed a ban on some of the most commonly used single-use plastic items by 2021. This includes straws, cutlery, plates, stirrers. But it also includes oxo-degradable items (like the ones Redmart uses here...) and polystyrene food containers.
Together these account for some of the most commonly found items washed up on our beaches all around the world. Reducing the amount of these items that are produced and used by European countries should have a major impact on the amount that ends up in landfill, and the oceans, reducing a whole host of negative effects that this causes,
But whilst the straw ban captures the headlines, the new legislation goes a lot further, compelling producers and governments to do more to reduce consumption of other harmful items or create better recycling systems. A quick summary is included below.
Ban on major single-use plastic items from 2021 (e.g. cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, cotton buds, polystyrene food containers, oxo-degradable plastics)
25% reduction on other plastics by 2025, including food containers (e.g. sandwich boxes or fruit/veg containers).
90% target for collection and recycling of plastic bottles by 2025.
80% reduction in waste from cigarette filters by 2030
50% of abandoned fishing gear to be collected each year and recycled 15% by 2025
Tobacco and fishing gear manufacturers to cover costs of waste collection
Better labelling on how to dispose of items like wet wipes, sanitary towels, balloons.
Taking these steps further, it addresses some of the plastic items for where there are not yet any sustainable alternatives. By doing this, it aims to incentivise and stimulate better recycling or reuse systems throughout Europe.
We really welcome this bold, ambitious and yet considered approach to plastic waste. To sum up, we really like this quote from the Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness within the EU Commission (from back in May).
“Plastic can be fantastic, but we need to use it more responsibly. Single use plastics are not a smart economic or environmental choice, and today's proposals will help business and consumers to move towards sustainable alternatives."