MEPs approve ambitious new package to cut plastic waste

The European Parliament has today adopted a new set of rules to help keep litter out of our seas and oceans. Under the laws a number of products will be banned where there are more sustainable and affordable alternatives already available, such as plastic cutlery and plates. Member States will also have to do more to reduce the use of plastic food containers and plastic drink cups for single use.

Provisions are included to improve product design, labeling and awareness campaigns that aim to contribute to Member States’ litter prevention strategies.

There will also be new mechanisms introduced to ensure that from now on producers have to pay for cleaning up their littered products.

ECR MEP Mark Demesmaeker, who negotiated these measures on behalf of the Group said:

“More than 80 percent of the litter found on our beaches consists of plastic. About half of this comes from disposable products. Without action, more plastic than fish will swim in our seas by 2050. We must change course and these ambitious measures are a step in the right direction.”

Another eye-catching new clause is that by 2029, member states will have to collect 90 percent of the plastic single-use drink bottles. Demesmaeker continued:

“This measure will have a major impact. Also towards CO2 reduction. For every tonne of plastic that we recycle, we take a car off the road. Plastic beverage bottles are the most commonly found disposable plastic on our beaches. In addition, the European Parliament was able to convince the Member States that by 2030 all beverage bottles should consist of 30% recycled plastic.”

There are also incentives in the legislation to encourage tobacco companies to remove the plastic contained in cigarette butts, and introduce new producer responsibility measures which will ensure they contribute towards the clean-up of discarded stubs. Demesmaeker concluded:

“A plastic cigarette butt does not break and one cigarette can contaminate up to 500 liters of water. Producers of tobacco filters with plastic will have to pay for the clean-up costs and for the necessary public infrastructure to collect these stubs. In addition to the existing health warnings, there will also be an environmental warning on the packaging of tobacco products that contain plastic.”

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