European officials agree on ban of some single-use plastics

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo, plastic bottles and other plastics including a mop, lie washed up on the north bank of the River Thames in London. European Union officials agreed on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, to ban some single-use plastics, such as disposable cutlery, plates and straws, in an effort to cut marine pollution. The measure will also affect plastic cotton buds, drink stirrers, balloon sticks, and single-use plastic and polystyrene food and beverage containers. | Associated Press photo by Matt Dunham, St. George News

BERLIN (AP) — Plastic knives just won’t cut it any longer if the European Union has its way.

The 28-nation bloc moved closer Wednesday to banning single-use straws, plates, cutlery and cotton swabs after officials from EU member states and the European Parliament said they’re following recommendations by its executive branch designed to reduce marine pollution.

Related story: Southern Utah business owners join movement to eliminate plastic straws

Environmental campaigners have been calling for curbs on throwaway plastic that’s accumulating in the oceans. Scientific studies have found minuscule particles known as microplastics are being consumed by animals throughout the food chain, though the impact on human health is unclear.

“When we have a situation where one year you can bring your fish home in a plastic bag, and the next year you are bringing that bag home in a fish, we have to work hard and work fast,” said Karmenu Vella, the European commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries.

The EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, estimates that almost 60 percent of the 25.8 million metric tons (28.4 million tons) of plastic waste produced in the bloc each year comes from packaging, with much of it exported to third countries rather than recycled.

German environmental group NABU claims that about 350,000 metric tons of plastic waste could be prevented in Germany alone with the ban.

Once the ban is formally approved, countries will have two years to restrict the use of single-use plastic products, which will also include drink stirrers, balloon sticks and polystyrene food and beverage containers.

PET bottles sold in the EU will have to contain at least 25 percent recycled plastic starting in 2025 and rising to 30 percent by 2030.

The EU also wants to work with manufacturers to inform consumers of the presence of plastic in wet wipes and cigarette filters.

Written by FRANK JORDANS, The Associated Press.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • iceplant December 19, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Awesome. Now, if we can get American lawmakers to do this instead of listening to corporate goons lobbying on behalf of the plastics industry, we might be able to clean this planet before it’s too late. This is how you reign in capitalism. Hit them where it hurts them the hardest.

    • tazzman December 19, 2018 at 11:09 am

      It doesn’t hurt capitalists. Capitalists will be the ones to come up with alternatives once plastics are regulated. Trust me, they aren’t hurting. Ever heard of creative destruction? It’s part of capitalism.

  • utahdiablo December 19, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    What the hell did you all do before the bottled water craze?…carry a damn canteen ( a what?? )

    • Comment December 19, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      I remember when bottled water first became a thing they all had the little pop up spouts on the top. Now they’re all screw tops. Sad sad. Back in my day there were these things called “drinking fountains”. Anyone remember those?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.