The European Union is proposing a ban on 10 single-use plastic products in an effort to reduce the amount of waste found in the waters and beaches of its countries. They say that the single-use plastic waste accounts for around 70 percent of the waste found in the waters and beaches.
The European Commission says that this effort is in order to move the economy away from using these types of products.
Proposal To Ban Single-Use Plastics
The European Commission's proposed ban would include products such as cutlery, straws, cotton swabs, plates, certain types of coffee cups, and coffee stirrers. It said that the move was to make the producers of these plastic products bear the cost of waste management and cleanup efforts. It also announced that the European Union would collect 90 percent of single-use plastic bottles by 2025.
This proposed ban wouldn't be implemented immediately, it would take until 2030 to fully go into effect. It estimates that the ban would cost businesses over $3.5 billion (€3 billion) per year. Though they estimate that consumers would save $7.6 billion (€6.5 billion) per year. It also estimates that it would create 30,000 jobs and avoid $25.6 billion (€22 billion) in cleanup costs.
The proposed ban doesn't set targets for the countries within the European Union to reduce and eventually phase out the use of single-use plastic products.
European Union Vice President Frans Timmermans says that this is a problem that the EU needs to deal with as a collective. Timmermans says that this proposal would help introduce cleaner alternatives to plastics so that people could continue to enjoy the use of their favorite products.
In the UK, there's a similar idea being floated around by the Environment Secretary Michael Gove. Gove's idea is to ban plastic straws and cotton swabs. No legislation has been drafted for the proposal and there has only been a government consultation on the subject.
Globally only 14 percent of plastic is being recycled. It is dwarf by the rate of how other materials are being recycled. Materials like paper are 58 percent recycled and up to 90 percent of iron and steel gets recycled.
Plastic manufacturers in Europe represented by Plastics Europe said that the ban isn't a solution and that more resources should be dedicated to waste management for better collection of plastic.