Brussels, May 22 : The Council of the European Union (EU) has adopted the ambitious measures proposed by the European Commission (EC) to tackle marine litter.
Most of the plastic waste coming from the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on European beaches, as well as abandoned fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics. A press note issued by the EC on Tuesday said the rules on Single-Use Plastics items and fishing gear envisage different measures to apply to different product and place the EU at the forefront of the global fight against marine litter.Where alternatives are easily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market, such as cutlery, plates and straws.
For other products, the focus is on limiting their use through a national reduction in consumption; on design and labelling requirements; and waste management/clean-up obligations for producers.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development said: "There is a growing sense of urgency in European society to do whatever it takes to stop plastic pollution in our oceans. "
Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, added: "In a modern economy we have to reduce the amount of plastic litter and make sure we recycle most of the plastics used."
Commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, Karmenu Vella concluded: "Plastic straws or forks are little objects but can make great, long-lasting damages. The single-use plastics legislation will address 70 percent of marine litters items, avoiding environmental damage that would otherwise cost €22 billion by 2030."
The new rules are proportionate and tailored to get the best results. This means different measures will be applied to different products. The new rules will introduce: A ban on selected single-use products made of plastic for which alternatives exist on the market: cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, sticks for balloons, as well as cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and on all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.
Measures to reduce consumption of food containers and beverage cups made of plastic and specific marking and labelling of certain products.Extended Producer Responsibility schemes covering the cost to clean-up litter, applied to products such as tobacco filters and fishing gear. UNI