Landmark EU agreement on single use plastics

Landmark EU agreement on single use plastics

Following on from the European Plastics Strategy adopted in January 2018 the EU announced yesterday, 19th December, an agreement to tackle marine litter through a ban on certain single use plastic products as well as measures to ensure the cost of recovering and responsibly disposing of others products is more fairly shared between producers and tax payers.

This new agreement - which is expected to be formally approved by the European Parliament and Coucil next year - is based on the Single Use Plastics Proposal announced in May. Under this proposal, where alternatives are readily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market. For products without straight-forward alternatives, the focus is on limiting their use through a national reduction in consumption; design and labelling requirements and waste management/clean-up obligations for producers.

The proposal and agreement cover products which account for 70% of marine litter in Europe, from cotton buds to fishing gear. Products for which a ban has been agreed include plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons. Whilst the collection target for plastic drinks bottles has been amended during the negotiations between proposal and this agreement - the target of 90% of these products is now set for 2029, with a target of 77% set for the original proposed date of 2025.

Overall, this agreement seems a very welcome end-of-year gift and positive step forward for our marine environment, and we look forward to hearing news of further steps to reduce the amount of plastics in the world's oceans.

Sources:
European Commission Press Release Database: Single use plastics Dec 2018, May 2018
Marine Conservation Society
Euractiv.com

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