Alternatives to single-use plastics

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The European Commission (EC) on Monday announced a new proposal for tackling marine litter that would target the 10 types of single-use plastics most found in the sea.

The European Commission plans to ban a number of plastic disposable products and to penalize member countries of the European Union of plastic waste that can not be recycled.

This covers plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and balloon sticks.

Released on May 28, the draft rules would ban the 10 single-use plastic products said by the European Union to make up 70 per cent of all marine litter, according to a news release.

The EU Member States have targets to reduce the use of plastic food containers and drink cups, and are also being encouraged to set national reduction targets, make alternative products available at the point of sale, or ensure that single-use plastic products can not be provided free of charge. But if they are, the European Commission said the measures are expected have a profound financial and environmental impact.

"We anticipate to see an enormous backlash from producers within the subsequent months, who've already been very vocal in opposition to bans and monetary obligations on producers, and who insist voluntary initiatives are sufficient to finish the plastic disaster", Ms.

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Plastic cutlery would not be banned completely, Mr Timmermans said, but steps would be taken to have them made out of sustainable material where possible.

The governing body also wants nearly all plastic bottles to be collected for recycling by 2025.

The European Commission is set to ban a range of single-use plastic items. This will apply to sanitary towels, wet wipes and balloons.

[1] The European Environmental Bureau is a member of Rethink Plastic alongside ClientEarth, ECOS, the Environmental Investigation Agency, Friends of the Earth Europe, Seas at Risk, Surfrider Foundation Europe and Zero Waste Europe.

New research done by campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) said that industry interests had monopolised too much of the Commission's time during the build-up to the release of the Plastics Strategy in January.

"This is an opportunity for Europe to lead the way, creating products that the world will demand for decades to come and extracting more economic value from our precious limited resources".

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