New rules to curb litter from the most commonly found single-use plastics on our beaches were adopted today in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee.

MEPs voted to specifically address the 10 single-use plastics that are most often found washed up or still in the sea, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear. These items together account for 70% of all marine litter.

As part of the draft rules, some single-use plastic products are to be banned from the market where alternatives are readily available and affordable. Where plastics do not have straight-forward alternatives, the draft laws aim to focus on limiting their use through Member States’ plans that target consumption, design and labelling requirements as well as clean-up obligations for producers.

“Plastic is an important and valuable material which has a useful place in our society and economy. However, the way in which plastics are produced and used today is both unaffordable and unsustainable. Plastic is developed to last in perpetuity, but is often still designed to be disposed of after use,” said ECR Flemish MEP Mark Demesmaeker, who followed the proposals for the ECR Group.

“Moreover, a significant amount of single-use plastic products ends up in our seas and oceans, leading to a plastic soup. If we do not act, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. We need to manage plastics in a responsible way throughout the entire value chain. The measures voted today support the transition towards a circular economy and will allow business and consumers to work towards sustainable alternatives. However, I believe that a general strategy on single-use products, regardless of the material out of which they are produced, is a necessary next step,” he added.