Plastic Oceans: MEPs back EU ban on polluting throwaway plastics by 2021

Plastic Oceans 2018

UN Photo/Martine Perret Plastic bottles and garbage waste from a nearby village wash on the shores of a river and then spill into the sea.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

Single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery or cotton buds, making up over 70% of marine litter, will be banned under plans backed in the Environment Committee.

Single-use plastic products such as cutlery, cotton bud sticks, plates, straws, beverage stirrers and balloon sticks will be banned from the EU market from 2021, under draft plans approved on Wednesday by the Environment and Public Health Committee.

In the report drafted by Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE), adopted with 51 votes to 10, with 3 abstentions, MEPs added to this list: very lightweight plastic bags, products made of oxo-degradable plastics and fast-food containers made of expanded polystyrene.

National reduction targets

The consumption of several other items, for which no alternative exists, will have to be reduced by member states in an “ambitious and sustained” manner by 2025. This includes single-use burger boxes, sandwich boxes or food containers for fruits, vegetables, desserts or ice creams. Member states will draft national plans to encourage the use of products suitable for multiple use, as well as re-using and recycling.

Other plastics, such as beverage bottles, will have to be collected separately and recycled at a rate of 90% by 2025.

Cigarette butts and lost fishing gear

MEPs agreed that reduction measures should also cover waste from tobacco products, in particular cigarette filters containing plastic. It would have to be reduced by 50% by 2025 and 80% by 2030.

One cigarette butt can pollute between 500 and 1000 litres of water, and thrown on the roadway, it can take up to twelve years to disintegrate. They are the second most littered single-use plastic items.

Member states should also ensure that at least 50% of lost or abandoned fishing gear containing plastic is collected per year, with a recycling target of at least 15% by 2025. Fishing gear represents 27% of waste found on Europe’s beaches.

Extended producer responsibility

Member states would have to ensure that tobacco companies cover the costs of waste collection for those products, including transport, treatment and litter collection. The same goes for producers of fishing gear containing plastic, who will need to contribute to meeting the recycling target.


Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE), rapporteur, said: “Europe is only responsible for a small part of the plastic polluting our oceans. It can and should, however, be a key player in finding a solution, leading at a global level, as it has done in the past in the fight against climate change. Prohibit, reduce, tax, but also replace, warn; the member states have many options to choose from. It is up to them to choose wisely and up to us to keep pushing for more. “

Next steps

The report will be put to a vote by the full House during its 22-25 October plenary session in Strasbourg.


According to the European Commission, more than 80% of marine litter is plastics. Together they constitute 70% of all marine litter items. Due to its slow decomposition, plastic accumulates in seas, oceans and on beaches in the EU and worldwide. Plastic residue is found in marine species – such as sea turtles, seals, whales and birds, but also in fish and shellfish, and therefore in the human food chain.

While plastics are a convenient, adaptable, useful and economically valuable material, they need to be better used, re-used and recycled. When littered, the economic impact of plastics encompasses not just the lost economic value in the material, but also the costs of cleaning up and losses for tourism, fisheries and shipping.











the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How young people are turning the tide against corruption

Greater support needed for refugees and migrants from Venezuela – UN

Migration crisis: how big a security threat it is?

Tsipras doesn’t seem to have learned his “almost Grexit” lesson and Greece faces again financial and political dead end

How do we build an ethical framework for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Germany takes cover from Trump in Eurozone and decides to pay for it

Did Draghi ask the Germans to accept a drastic change of austerity policies?

‘Laser-sharp focus’ needed to achieve Global Goals by 2030, UN political forum told

More bank bailouts at taxpayers’ expenses

Saudi Arabia: UN experts push for prompt release of women human rights defenders

Mind control using sound waves? We ask a scientist how it works

This is the state of the world’s health, in numbers

EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia

European Court of Justice to Google: It is #righttobeforgotten but not #righttoberemembered

EU and Japan agree on free-trade deal and fill the post-TPP void

Brands can be a force for good and for growth. Here’s how

Mali’s ‘self-defence’ groups must face justice, after deadly intercommunal attacks

Chile ups foreign bribery enforcement but flawed case resolutions are insufficient to ensure transparency and accountability

Germany rules the banking industry of Eurozone

FROM THE FIELD: South Sudan’s green shoots, highlight environmental recovery from war

Mental health of health professionals: the alter ego

On Kristallnacht anniversary, UN chief urges renewed fight against ‘crime’ of anti-Semitism

ECOFIN: Protecting bankers and tax-evaders

Τhe EU Refugee Crisis: a day in the life of a Refugee in Greece

Landmine casualties high for third consecutive year despite record funding, latest monitor reports

UN recorded 64 new allegations of sexual exploitation or abuse in the past three months

Inclusion and diversity isn’t just good for employees – it’s good for the bottom line

UN experts report: Business ‘dragging its feet’ on human rights worldwide

An FTA between EU-US to hurt South Korea

Migration crisis update: mutual actions and solidarity needed as anti-migrant policies thrive

The world is facing a $15 trillion infrastructure gap by 2040. Here’s how to bridge it

At G20 Summit OECD’s Gurría says collective action vital to tackle global challenges

Germany to help China in trade disputes with Brussels

China hopes EU Commissioner De Gucht drops super anti-dumping tariff on solar panels

The EU Commission is lying to the “Right2Water” campaign

Imaginary Journeys Into Eternal China

Finland should do more to improve job prospects of low-skilled youth

Mexico cannot move forward ‘without addressing the shadows of the past’, says UN rights chief

EU-US trade deal: Europe to Americanize its social model?

Trade surplus up production down in Eurozone

COP21 Breaking News_12 December: 195 countries adopt the First Universal Climate Agreement

UN Forum examines three pillars of 2030 Global Goals

Reforms in a few countries drive a decline in average OECD labour taxes

Unemployment and immigrants haunt the EU; who can offer relief?

Scientists are using machine learning to unlock the mysteries of long-dead languages

Rights defenders jailed in Bahrain and UAE should be released unconditionally, UN urges

European Youth cries out: Sustainable Development Goals ambitious, but lack focus on youth

ILO: Progress on gender equality at work remains inadequate

‘Protracted crisis’ in Venezuela leads to ‘alarming escalation of tensions’: UN political chief

UN chief ‘commends’ leadership of Greece and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as name dispute draws to final close

5 ways blockchain can transform the world of impact investing

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity Act for a cyber-bulletproof EU”, by EU Vice-President Ansip

Friday’s Daily Brief: human rights in Sudan, sombre anniversaries for Rwanda and Nigeria, and fears of ‘chaos’ in Libya

UN chief welcomes DR Congo President’s promise to stand down

The EU Parliament slams Commission on economic governance

How building renovations can speed up the electric vehicle revolution

WHO and IFMSA as transcendent pillars for world improvement

Aid funding for Occupied Palestinian Territories at ‘all-time low’

Commission calls on Leaders to pave the way for an agreement on a modern, balanced and fair EU budget for the future

Eurozone again whipped by Greek winds

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s