The European Commission wants to ban 10 items that make up 70% of all litter in EU waters and on beaches. The list also includes plastic plates and drink stirrers.
The legislation is not just about banning plastic products. It also wants to make plastic producers bear the cost of waste management and cleanup efforts, and it proposes that EU states must collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles by 2025 through new recycling programs.
The European Commission estimates that these rules, once fully implemented in 2030, could cost businesses over €3 billion ($3.5 billion) per year. But they could also save consumers about €6.5 billion ($7.6 billion) per year, create 30,000 jobs, and avoid €22 billion ($25.6 billion) in environmental damage and cleanup costs.
The Rethink Plastic Alliance, an association of environmental organizations called the proposals “a leap forward in tackling plastic pollution” but criticized some perceived shortcomings.
Plastics Europe, which represents manufacturers, said it supported the “overarching objective” of the proposal but said there must be more resources dedicated to “waste management” to ensure better collection of used plastic.
On a global basis, only 14% of plastic is collected for recycling. The reuse rate is terrible compared to other materials . 58% of paper and up to 90% of iron and steel gets recycled.
Research shows there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the world’s oceans by 2050, which has spurred policy makers, individuals and companies into action.