European Interest

Brussels prepares ban on plastic waste

Flickr/countrygirlatheart/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The European Commission is hammering out a draft directive aimed at reducing plastic pollution. Brussels has warned that if no action is taken, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050.

German media reported that the Commission will unveil its plans on May 28. As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the draft law will include a ban on the private use of disposable plastic products like straws, plastic plates, plastic utensils, plastic coffee stirrers, cotton swabs with plastic stems and plastic balloon holders.

For every kilogram of plastic waste that wasn’t recycled, EU states would be required to pay a certain amount to the EU budget. Also, the use of plastic cups and packaging for fast food should also be curbed.

As for Germany, the government has already signalled its approval of the Commission’s plans. German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said single-use plastics “should be regulated at a European level and be gradually taken out of circulation”.

Günther Oettinger, the EU Budget Commissioner, defended a proposed fine on member states who fail to recycle more plastic, telling the Funke Media Group: “This creates an incentive for national politicians to examine how plastic waste can be reduced – through bans, education, a national tax or a fee for plastic shopping bags”.

After the Commission tables the draft directive, it will be negotiated with the EU member states as well as the European Parliament before it can come into effect.

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