Eu agrees to ban single-use plastic

Plastic plates, drinking straws and other disposable plastic products are banned in the EU. Negotiators from the European Parliament and the EU countries agreed on this. It is primarily about protecting the oceans.

The EU ban on disposable plastic products has been finalized. Negotiators from the European Parliament and the EU countries agreed on the details in Brussels.

In May, the EU Commission proposed banning disposable dishes, straws, cotton swabs and other disposable items made of plastic. The amount of food packaging and drinking cups is to be reduced. The measures are intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3.4 million tons. By 2030, environmental damage worth 22 billion euros could be avoided, it said. Consumers could save up to 6.5 billion euros.

The Commission justifies the move primarily with the protection of the oceans. More than 80 percent of the garbage in the oceans is plastic. The ban is intended to help curb the masses of plastic waste in the environment and in the world’s oceans.

Plans changed slightly

The EU Parliament and EU countries had slightly changed the plans in the legislative process. You have yet to officially confirm the negotiators’ agreement. The changes are expected to take effect in a good two years.

The strategy against plastic waste should bring about noticeable changes in everyday life for almost everyone. From the beginning of 2021, however, only items for which there are already better alternatives are to be banned. This also includes balloon sticks. In addition, a number of single-use products with a certain plastic content – such as wet wipes – are to be labeled. The negative environmental impact should also be pointed out.

No new deposit system

Five years after the regulation came into force, the lids of disposable plastic bottles may only be put into circulation if they are connected to the bottle so that they do not end up in the environment individually. The German Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze had instead called for a deposit system to be introduced. A large part of the returnable bottles will be returned with lids, the ministry said as a justification. However, there was no EU-wide majority for this.

The package is particularly important for the plastics industry. According to the authorities, it had a turnover of 340 billion euros in 2015 and employed 1.5 million people.

Part of the new strategy is also for manufacturers to share the costs of collecting and recycling the products concerned. For example, the tobacco industry could be asked to pay for collecting cigarette butts in the future. "Those who manufacture disposable items such as cigarettes will have to take on more responsibility for garbage in the future," Schulze told the newspapers of the Funke media group.