The EU’s most stringent plastic ban
Recently the problem of ocean pollution has brought into focus the European Union has published a draft proposal to ban plastic straws, cotton swabs and other single-use plastic products. According to the draft issued by the European Commission, there are 10 types of disposable plastic products included in the “blacklist”, including plastic tableware (straws, knives, and forks, etc.), cotton swabs, balloons and brackets, plastic lunch boxes, plastic cups, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, plastic bags, potato chip bags (sugar paper) and wet tissues. In addition, fishing gears containing plastic ingredients are also “listed on the list.” With the increase in plastic pollution, the marine ecological environment is getting worse. Currently the EU only recycles one-quarter of the plastic products produced.
The draft said that above 10 types of disposable plastic supplies now account for 43% of European marine debris. Fishing gears containing plastic components account for 27% of European marine litter. Plastic waste can reach 70% of European marine waste which becoming the most common plastic waste on European beaches. According to statistics, 8 million tons of plastic waste is dumped into the sea every year. The EU and its partners hope that this activity will lead the public, especially children and young people getting more aware of marine environmental protection. It recently passed legislation related to the European strategy of the plastic circular economy to reduce the production and consumption of the ten most common disposable plastic products. EU member states expressed support for this and will implement it on April 15. 28 countries have already adopted the draft.
Regarding EU policy, environmental protection organizations expressed support but also identified some problems with specific requirements and solutions:
- Most plastic products will be banned, some disposable plastic products will be replaced by products that can be used continuously. The disposable plastic container needs a lid to enter the mall.
- Requires member countries to significantly reduce the output of plastic products and a total ban on the sale of disposable plastic products is required.
- Producers of plastic products need to take the initiative to clean up the waste. Producers need to find low pollution products to replace high pollution products.
- Members also need to promise to recycle 90% of disposable plastic bottles by 2025, and also have a deposit to ensure the completion rate. Member States that reach the target can refund the deposit.
- Products need to be labeled with clear pollution index and recycling methods which needs a standardized management system.
- Members need to focus on using incentives such as tax reduction and exemption to guide actors to actively protect the marine ecological environment, rather than relying too much on taxation and other restrictive measures to regulate; use protective development and other means to promote the diversification of marine ecological environmental protection financing channels ;Strengthen the linkage of departments to build an effective unified management and coordination mechanism; Strengthen the management of sea area subdivisions and promote the exchange and cooperation between regions.