In May, the EU Commission had voiced the proposal to curb the use of single-use plastic products. This should contribute to the protection of the oceans, as a large part of the waste in the sea consists of plastic. The European Parliament officially approved the EU Commission's proposal yesterday, Oct. 24, 2018. The new regulation was voted in favor by 571 MEPs, 53 voted against and 34 abstained.
A number of single-use products are already set to be banned by 2021. The soon-to-be-banned single-use products include straws, plastic tableware and cutlery, thin plastic bags, balloon holders and cotton swabs. These products are to be replaced with sustainable alternatives, such as straws made of bamboo and paper. In addition, the EU Parliament is tightening up the EU Commission's proposal. For example, plastic bottles are to be collected separately in the future. In addition, 90 percent of disposable plastic bottles are to be recycled by 2025. Newly sold bottles are to consist of at least 35 percent recycled material.
Furthermore, 50 percent of the fishing nets floating in the sea are to be collected. The manufacturers of cigarettes and fishing gear are to share the costs of collecting plastic waste on beaches and in the sea. They should also contribute to the cost of educating people about the litter problem.
The exact new guidelines will be decided jointly by the European Parliament and the EU member states.
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