The negotiators of the European Union institutions have achieved this morning a political agreement to ban from 2021 the most popular disposable plastic items, such as plates, cutlery, cotton swabs and polystyrene containers for food, with the In order to reduce their impact on the environment and help their waste disappear from European beaches.
The European Union believes that the plastics indicated by the new standard represent about 70 percent of the plastic waste that pollutes the waters and beaches in the community territory.
“Marine litter is a growing global problem, and we have listened to the warning that if measured by weight, in 2050 there will be more plastics than fish in the oceans,” said the Austrian Minister of Sustainability and Tourism and President of the the EU, Elisabeth Köstinger, announcing the agreement.
The agreement, which still needs the formal approval of the European Parliament and the Council to be effective, has been achieved in record time, after the European Commission presented its proposal at the end of May of this year.
The objective is to eradicate the use of plastic articles for which alternatives already exist in materials that do not harm the environment. To the list proposed by Brussels, which includes sticks, plates and cutlery, drinking glasses and drinking straws, polystyrene containers for fast food have been added as required by the European Parliament.
Among the articles that can not be used in the European Union in just over two years, there are also products in oxodegradable plastic, considered especially harmful to the environment because they contain additives that do not disappear completely and negatively affect the recycling process .
In addition to the list of items that will be vetoed, the European Union wants Member States to take “the necessary measures” to significantly reduce the consumption of other products, such as plastic containers (other than polystyrene) for fast food that does not need post-purchase preparation and tapas for drinks.
Binding targets are also foreseen for Member States to take the necessary measures so that by 2030 at least 30 percent of the materials in plastic bottles are recyclable.
In the case of other elements for which better alternatives to plastics do not exist at the moment, the European Union is committed to encouraging its recycling, for example in regard to fishing gear, to ensure that they are not thrown overboard. on the high seas, but the fleet returns to land with them and recycles them.
The objective is to halve the waste of these products in order to avoid environmental damage that would cost 230,000 million euros in 2030 and the emission of 3.4 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2). ) that same year.