EU proposes ban on single-use plastic cutlery, plates and straws

The European Commission is looking to encourage "cleaner alternatives" for a number of items

EU proposes ban on single-use plastic cutlery, plates and straws

Picture by: Patrick Pleul/DPA/PA Images

The European Commission has announced new proposals to reduce the single-use plastics.

The proposed new rules include an outright ban on plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons.

They also state that the single use plastic cups and food containers cannot be provided free of charge.

Member states will have to reduce use of plastic cups and food containers, and will also be obliged to collect 90% of single-use plastic drinks bottles by 2025.

Producers, meanwhile, will have to help cover costs of waster management and clean-up for the likes of wrappers, cups, tobacco products with filters, and balloons. 

Another proposal would see certain products - such as balloons, sanitary towels and wet wipes - requiring standardised labelling which would show how the waste should be disposed of, and also highlight any negative environmental impacts of the product.

The Commission's proposals will now go to the European Parliament and Council for adoption.

The Commission's First Vice-President Frans Timmermans says plastic waste is 'undeniably a big issue' that the EU needs to look at.

He said: "Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem, because plastic waste ends up in our air, our soil, our oceans, and in our food. Today's proposals will reduce single use plastics on our supermarket shelves through a range of measures.

"We will ban some of these items, and substitute them with cleaner alternatives so people can still use their favourite products."

Vice-President Jyrki Katainen added that the proposals are an opportunity for Europe to 'lead the way' when it comes to sustainability.

The EU has previously unveiled plans for all plastic packaging used in Europe to be recyclable or reusable by 2030.