EU proposes ban on straws and other single-use plastics

The EU is considering a ban on several common plastic products

EU proposes bloc-wide ban on single-use plastics

Single-use plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers, drinks cups, food containers, and balloon sticks are "predominantly and increasingly imported from the Asia-Pacific region into Europe", the paper said.

For other products, like plastic bags and food containers, producers will be required to help cover the costs of waste management and clean-up, and member states will be obligated to raise awareness about the negative impacts of using such items.

You've nearly certainly heard noise about banning plastic straws, but have you heard of "Straw Wars"?

"This is an opportunity for Europe to lead the way, creating products that the world will demand for decades to come and extracting more economic value from our precious limited resources".

The moves have been welcomed by Minister for Environment, Denis Naughten who said it envisages a range of measures available to European Union member states to tackle single-use plastic items.

The draft rules would ban the 10 single-use plastic products that make up 70 percent of all marine litter, according to a news release.

"This Commission promised to be big on the big issues and leave the rest to member states", said the EU's First Vice President Frans Timmermans.

The Commission's proposals will now go to the European Parliament and Council for adoption.

The proposal also faced criticism from the plastics industry.

Moreover, the assessment noted, the need to develop the same products with alternative materials - or more durable products - could mean European companies can benefit from the proposal. Offsetting this, the Commission argues that consumers will save around €6.5 billion, and the governments will save around €22 billion in environmental cleanup costs.

Makers of balloons will be further compelled to introduce "new labelling on the environmental impact of the product and recycling options for consumers".

"Plastic product bans are not the solution", it said in a statement, and noted that "alternative products may not be more sustainable".

Timmermans said on Monday that the commission felt "emboldened about doing the right thing quickly" - and surely the measures have an ideological driver behind them as well.

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