EU Parliament adopts a text against single-use plastics!

This article was written by Gaëlle, a French student who supports #GiveAVote.

Plastic represents 80% of marine litter. As a result, the European Parliament has voted a text to ban the use of single-use plastics from 2021.

But what is a single-use plastic product?

Think of the straws that are distributed in all the restaurants, the plastic bags… They account for 70% of all marine litter, and as you can assume, their decomposition is slow, causing an accumulation in the seas, oceans and beaches of the world. This is not the only result. In fact, marine species are also victims of this pollution by ingesting these plastic products. Beyond killing them slowly, this means that plastic is also found in the human food chain, since the fish we fish for our consumption is also affected by this pollution.

The debate for the approval of this text began on Wednesday 27 March 2019. It was then put to a vote on the same day and was finally accepted on 1 April 2019. This new law makes it possible in particular to ban "any product manufactured wholly or partly from plastic and not designed, created or placed on the market to achieve, during its lifetime, multiple trips or rotations by being returned to a producer to be refilled or reused for a use identical to that for which it was designed".

It also strengthens the polluter pays principle. What is that? The polluter pays principle is that those who will have to bear the costs of collecting abandoned plastic products will be the manufacturers, not the users. This is mainly true for tobacco producers (plastic being present in the composition of cigarette filters) and fishing net producers.

The new text adopted by the European Parliament also sets a target for the collection of plastic bottles of 90% of the volumes produced by 2029 and a target for the recycling of plastic bottles of 25% of their components by 2025 and 30% from 2030.

"By weight, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050 if we continue to dump plastic into the sea at the current rate." - Elisabeth Köstinger, Austrian Minister for Sustainable Development.

22 billion euros. This is the amount that could be saved by applying this text to the bill for environmental damage. Banning single-use plastics would also reduce emissions of 3.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.