Disposable plastic items such as straws, cutlery, plates or cotton swabs will be banned in the EU a little more than two years from now. EuroCommerce responds by pointing out that everyone involved will have to contribute to make that goal succeed.
EU becomes "global leader in dealing with litter"
Last May, Europe declared war to litter, mostly targeting disposable plastic. In December, the EU reached a political agreement on a ban on disposable plastic packaging, straws, cutlery and plates, cotton swabs and even balloon sticks. That political agreement has now been approved by the European parliament with a large majority (560 in favour and 35 opposed).
Two years from now, disposable plastic will be banned throughout the entire EU. And that's not all. The new regulation forces manufacturers of cigarette filters, balloons and candy wrappers to contribute in the cleanup and reprocessing costs of litter. Plastic bottlecaps will have to be attached to the bottles and from 2025 onward, plastic bottles will have to consist of at least 25% recycled material (30% by 2030).
Simultaneously, as many as 90% of all plastic bottles will have to be collected separately by 2029. That should put Europe on the road to becoming "the world leader in dealing with litter" according to satisfied EU vice-president Frans Timmermans.
“Joint action needed to tackle problems of plastic waste”
Eurocommerce, the European trade interest group, points out in a response that the retail industry is already actively reducing the amount of plastic in its stores and supply chain and that many members have already solemnly promised to ban unnecessary disposable plastic items and to pursue more recycling as well as innovative ways to tackle the issue.
"We are as a sector already actively doing our bit in reducing plastic waste," stated Christian Verschueren, general manager of EuroCommerce, "but to do so effectively we need consistent implementation, and the engagement of the whole supply chain and public authorities to achieve real reductions in single-use plastic and marine litter. Without a proper waste management infrastructure and sufficient recycling facilities we will not achieve a circular economy or the objectives of this directive.” EuroCommerce is calling for the European Commission to seriously pursue clear and coherent rules on certain crucial elements such as the definition of disposable plastic and the cost of cleaning and processing.