BRUSSELS – The European Union has proposed banning plastic products such as cotton swabs, straws, foreheads and balloon sticks when alternatives are readily available to reduce stray beaches and seabeds.
The European Commission said its proposalfor the ten most prominent commodities and avoid environmental damage estimated at over $ 250 billion over the next twelve years.
EU Vice-President Frans Timmermans said utensils are not taking steps to completely ban them, so they are taking steps to make them as sustainable as possible.
"You can still organize a picnic basket, drink a cocktail, and clean your ears like before," Timmermans said. He also made new proposals to make sure the polluter pays.
The proposal is assessed by the European Parliament and the Member States, but Timmermans hopes to see results before May 2019.
And unlike so many EU proposals, which are immediately criticized by consumer and environmental groups for not being too late, the response on Monday was overwhelmingly positive.
"The only way to shed plastic into our oceans is to shut down your source: production," said Lasse Gustavsson, the European Executive Director of the Oceana environmental group, as he praised the initiative.
European Green Party lawmaker Monica Frassoni also welcomed the initiative, adding: "The scale of the problem means that we can not rely on individual European countries taking action, but instead finding a pan-European response."  The European Parliament has stated that plastics production today is 20 times higher than in the 1960s. The EU was also made to act by China's decision not to import part of the block waste.
Across the Atlantic, the New York City Council last Wednesday passed a bill banning the use of plastic straws in the city's CBS, New York reports. Instead, restaurants could offer reusable aluminum straws or straws made of paper, corn or even pasta.
"For New Yorkers, it's important to understand that plastic straw is not a necessity, it's more of a luxury and our luxuries cause great harm to other environments," said City Councilor Rafael Espinal, the main sponsor of the bill, the New York Times.
A similar ban was proposed. Shareholders on Thursday rejected a proposal to ban plastic straws in the global fast food giant's 37,000 branches serving 68 million customers each day.
Viral videos – including one showing researchers sucking a plastic straw from a sea turtle nosebleed – are causing some companies to find more ocean-friendly alternatives, but McDonald's is not on board, at least not in the US
McDonald's in March said it was phasing out plastic straws in the UK, but Thursday's stance on opposing efforts to do the same in the United States remained.
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