The European Parliament has voted through legislation to ban single use plastics like cotton buds, stirrers, plastic plates and cutlery, Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament has confirmed.
“The new law is aimed at reducing waste from single-use plastic products, which is polluting oceans and clogging landfills. Our oceans are swimming in plastic waste, much of it originating in Europe but shipped outside the EU, ” MEP McGuinness said from Strasbourg yesterday Wednesday.
“The legislation targets specific plastic items, along with lost fishing gear, that account for the majority of waste found in our oceans.”
A Member of the Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee, the Midlands North West MEP cautioned that plastic products are ubiquitous and cannot be eliminated overnight, but over time. However, we must start now and eliminate non-essential single use plastics.
“Consumers are deeply concerned about the impact of plastic waste on their health and on the environment,” she said pointing to the latest special EU Barometer indicating 75pc of citizens are concerned about plastic waste.
“We need to turn concern into action and already industry is responding to the recycling challenge and work is underway on more sustainable alternatives.
“However, it’s important to note that plastic plays a vital role in our society, particularly for hygiene purposes in healthcare and hospitals. Where there are alternatives available, efforts must be made to encourage consumers and producers to opt for the more sustainable options.
“In Europe, we recycle only 30 percent of plastic waste and we cannot be sure that when we place plastic into recycling centres where it eventually ends up”, said MEP McGuinness.