European Union sets rules for reducing single-use plastics

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Earlier it was reported that the EU does not intend to abandon the use of plastic, however, the European Commission (EC) aims to make plastic more recyclable, according to Twitter Vice-President of the EC Jyrki Katainen.

The first proposals in the EU's plastics strategy are aimed directly at trying to clean up beaches and waterways.

European Green Party lawmaker Monica Frassoni also welcomed the initiative and said: 'The scale of the problem means that we can not rely on individual European countries to take action and must instead find a Europe-wide response'.

The proposal still needs the approval of the 28 member states plus the European Parliament.

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Awareness-raising measures: European Union countries will be obliged to raise consumers' awareness about the negative impact of littering of single-use plastics and fishing gear as well as about the available re-use systems and waste management options for all these products.

The European Commission announced yesterday new EU-wide rules to reduce the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe's beaches and seas.

A close-up of plastic straws in Berlin, Germany.

It is forbidden to produce and use disposable plastic spoons, forks, knives, plates, glasses.

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He noted that now a significant portion of plastic packaging is used only once.

If it is approved, member states will need to make an active effort to reduce the number of single-use plastic food containers and cups available for sale in supermarkets.

The plastics industry is expected to push back against the proposed regulations. "So we either recycle it, or we thermally recycle it". Environmentalists estimate that over one billion straws are thrown away daily. But they could also save consumers about $7.6 billion per year, create 30,000 jobs, and avoid $25.6 billion in environmental damage and cleanup costs. "So [when] you get them so easily, you really need the legislation to drive change". This has resulted in Europe now dealing with three million tons of low-grade plastics it had previously exported every year.

The European Commission presented news rules in Brussels on Monday meant to reduce plastic marine litter.

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Plastic manufacturers in Europe represented by Plastics Europe said that the ban isn't a solution and that more resources should be dedicated to waste management for better collection of plastic.

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