Technology & Science

Ban on throw-away plastics backed by EU

European Union lawmakers moved on Wednesday to ban widely-used, throw-away plastics such as straws, bags and cotton swabs, putting the burden on manufacturers to recycle more in an effort to clear up ocean pollution.

Straws, some bags, cotton-buds to be forced out by 2021

Under a proposal backed by the European Parliament, single-use plastic products with readily available alternatives, such as plastic straws, would be banned across Europe by 2021. (Canadian Press)

European Union lawmakers moved on Wednesday to ban widely used, throw-away plastics such as straws, bags and cotton swabs, putting the burden on manufacturers to recycle more in an effort to clear up ocean pollution.

Under the proposal, overwhelmingly backed by the European Parliament, some single-use plastic products with readily available alternatives would be banned by 2021. EU states would be obliged to recycle 90 per cent of plastic bottles by 2025, while producers to help cover costs of waste management.

EU lawmakers added very light-weight plastic bags, polystyrene fast-food containers and products made of oxo-degradable plastics, which critics say do not fully break down, to the list proposed by the EU executive earlier this year.

Under the plan, fishing nets, which are now a key pollutant in the EU's Mediterranean sea and Atlantic ocean, will have to be produced differently, too.

The EU's final rules still need to be approved in talks with member states.

With a file from the Associated Press

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