EU Votes to Ban Plastic Straws and Cutlery While Imposing Massive Mandates on Plastic Companies

Brittany M. Hughes | March 27, 2019
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The European Union voted Wednesday to ban all single-use plastic items, including straws, stirrers and cutlery.

The ban, which is set to go into effect in 2021, also includes “single-use polystyrene cups and those made from oxo-degradable plastics that disintegrate into tiny fragments,” according to The Guardian. By 2025, plastic bottles must be made of 25 percent recycled material, and by 2029, 90 percent of them should be recycled, the directive also states.

On top of all that, the mandate requires companies to label all wet wipes, sanitary napkins, tobacco filters and drinking cups if they are made with plastic, as well as include a label warning consumers of the environmental damage they will do if they don’t recycle these items. It also fines fishing companies for losing nets in the ocean.

The measure passed 560 to just 35, with 28 members abstaining.

The move comes at the same time the British territory of Gibraltar announced a ban on helium-filled balloons over concerns about environmental pollution, putting a hasty end to one of the staples of its annual National Day festivities.