The EU have realised action needs to be taken so by 202110 single use plastics will be banned. On Wednesday 27th March EU The European Parliament voted 560 to 35 in favour of banning plates, straws, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.
Not to stop there all EU countries will also have to collect and recycle at least 90 per cent of beverage bottles by 2029 and tobacco companies will be required to cover the costs for public collection of cigarette stubs, the second most littered single-use plastic item.
Increasing awareness is high on the EU agenda so producers of items such as tobacco filters, plastic cups, sanitary towels and wet wipes will be required to explain to people how to appropriately dispose of them.
The European Commission's first vice-president Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said,
"Europe is setting new and ambitious standards, paving the way for the rest of the world,"
The World Economic Forum estimates that there are about 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world's seas.
There are five areas where plastic has accumulated in the ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is the largest of the five offshore plastic accumulation zones in the world’s oceans. It is located halfway between Hawaii and California. It is three times the size of France. The mass of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) was estimated to be approximately 80,000 tonnes.
Around The World
This news is fantastic because it's such an impactful ban with the size of the EU but great things have been happening around the world for some time now.
Washington DC, San Francisco and plenty more cities have chosen to ban single use plastic bags with great results. In Washington DC they saw an 85% reduction in plastic bag consumption.
Karnataka in India has a ban on plastic bags plus other items like plastic dinnerwarem and all manufacturers in the state are banned from producing any single-use plastics. The UK charges for plastic bags and has reduced plastic bag usage by 80%.
Closer to home Hobart has just voted in favour of a by-law which will see single use plastic banned in Hobart by 2020.
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