In October 2018, the European Parliament voted for a total ban on a range of single-use plastics across the European Union in an effort to put a final stop to plastic pollution of the oceans and marine life.
The EU’s single-use plastic ban also included a reduction in the manufacture of single-use plastic for food and drink containers such as plastic takeaway boxes and plastic cups.
The single-use plastic items included in the ban are:
- Balloon sticks
- Cotton buds
The main impetus behind the EU’s single-use plastic ban is the prediction reached by scientific research that by 2050, plastic will outnumber fish in the oceans.
The EU’s single-use plastic ban was originally proposed in May 2018 following an outpouring of public support off the back of David Attenborough’s BBC Blue Planet II programme, which aired in the autumn of 2017.
Although it was successfully voted for by MEPs in October 2018, there are still a few hurdles left for the single-use plastic ban to go through before it can be put into effect. The European Parliament will have to enter into negotiations with the European Council once EU ministers have set their own position on the proposed ban on file. The EU is aiming for the ban to become part of legislation across the bloc by 2021.
The ban was supported by 571 voted for the ban on single-use plastic with just 53 MEPs voting against it. Belgian MEP, Frédérique Ries, who was responsible for the creation of the bill, commented on the success of the MEP vote: “We have adopted the most ambitious legislation against single-use plastics. It is up to us now to stay the course in the upcoming negotiations with the Council, due to start as early as November 2018.
“Today’s vote paves the way for a forthcoming and ambitious directive. It is essential in order to protect the marine environment and reduce the costs of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at 22 billion euros by 2030.”