The European Union has just announced that they will undertake an ambitious but much needed campaign against single-use plastic.
Single-use plastics such as straws, cup lids, and disposable coffee cups are causing issues through the world in our lakes, rivers, and oceans. The announcement states that all packaging in Europe will be reusable or recyclable by 2030 and that single-use plastics will be completely phased out.
On top of that, additional funding of €100 million will be put to research for looking into better designs, recyclability, and durability of plastic products, as well as promote the access to clean drinking water on the streets of cities and towns, which they hope that this will help cut the use of bottled water. They will also move to ban the production and use of micro-beads in cosmetic products across the entire continent which has been a huge issue throughout the world.
The EU commission is expected to make legally binding commitments by parliament and its member states by May this year.
The plan follows on from China’s announcement at the beginning of the year that they will cease accepting imports of foreign waste products that are to be recycled. The move left many Western nations, including the UK, without an option to recycle their plastic and resulted in a concern that eventually plastic will be left to be buried in landfill, as the countries don’t have the infrastructure to deal with it.
Very little has been laid out thus far to solve the plastic problem completely but politicians are adamant that this issue is being taken serious and a answer will come. One of the major parts of the strategy will be looking into how to tax the use of single-use plastics.
Although not perfect, it is very encouraging that such a large part of the world is undertaking the responsibility to figure out the problem of single-use plastics. Hopefully, the research and progress made in the EU will allow the rest of the world to transition much easier to follow the same path.