European Parliament votes to ban range of single use plastics

European Parliament votes to ban range of single use plastics

The Green Party in the European Parliament is celebrating after its proposal to include oxo-plastics in the ban on a wide range of plastic products was accepted

Single use plastic items including straws, cutlery, cups and cotton buds should be banned, the European Parliament has agreed. The vote also extends to oxo-plastics, which no, aren't derived from seasoning cubes, but are plastics which manufacturers claim are bio-degradable thanks to the addition of additional materials such as metal salts in the manufacturing process. This has been shown not to be true. Oxo-plastics don't biodegrade, rather break down into fragments of micro plastics, which are ending up in the sea and in our rivers. 

We must wean ourselves off plastic stemmed cotton buds
And ditch the straws. Disabled people are urged to use metal straws if they need straws to drink
The European Parliament voted by a majority of MEPs to propose banning single-use plastic straws, plates, cutlery, and balloon sticks; and to impose stringent reduction targets for other plastics such as food containers, packaging for tobacco products and wet wipes.
 
The Parliament also agreed to a Green proposal to include a ban on oxo-plastic, which is often marketed as bio-degradable, but in reality fragments and turns into microplastic. 
 
Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, welcomes the vote: 'This decision is a victory for the health of the earth. Plastic waste is a truly global problem, touching every corner of the planet. Shocking images of the scale of the problem and how plastic is flooding our oceans and destroying wildlife has helped push this issue up the political agenda. This vote is a sign that there is a global race to the top on addressing plastic pollution, and the EU has demonstrated it wants to be one of the front runners.'
 
In the run-up to the vote, the UK government announced a more limited consultation on 'banning the distribution and/or sale of plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds'.
 
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East and a member of the European Parliament's Environment Committee, says single-use plastics are choking our marine environments and, as new research has shown, polluting our bodies. 'It is vital, therefore, that so many MEPs have joined the Greens today in voting for strong proposals to ban some of the most toxic offenders. 
 
'The proposals aren't a panacea, of course; there is much more to be done. The UK government has a recent history of claiming EU progress as their own. Rather than trying to take undeserved credit on this, I'm calling on Ministers to use EU action as a starting point for even tougher domestic measures. A race to the top on tackling plastic pollution would be welcome.'
 
The European Parliament will now take the agreed text to the next step in the negotiations on the Single Use Plastic Directive. They start of 6 November with the European Commission and Council.
 
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