European lawmakers have approved measures to reduce plastics polluting seas and oceans. A proposed ban targets the top 10 single-use plastic products that litter Europe’s beaches. The European Parliament  approved measures that could lead to a ban on single-use plastic items, including straws, cotton swabs and disposable plastic plates and cutlery, by 2021. The parliament backed the proposals with a 571-53 majority.

What did the European Commission propose?

  • A ban on the use of plastic items like straws, cotton swabs, plastic plates and cutlery, plastic coffee stirrers and plastic balloon holders. EU lawmakers on Wednesday added very lightweight plastic bags and polystyrene fast-food containers to the list.
  • Reduce the use of plastic food containers, such as the ones used for take-away, and cups for beverages.
  • Producers will help cover the costs of waste management and cleanup as well as raise awareness of the polluting impacts of tobacco products with filters (such as cigarette butts), wet wipes, balloons, plastic bags and candy and potato chip wrappers.
  • Member states should use a deposit refund scheme or any other measure to collect 90 percent of single-use plastic bottles by 2025.
  • Menstrual pads, wet wipes and balloons will be required to add a label indicating how to dispose of the product properly.
  • Member states should raise awareness about the dangers of single-use plastic items.
  • Producers of plastic fishing gear will be required to cover the costs of waste collection in ports.

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