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Europe plans to phase out plastic cutlery, straws and more



  Are you eating plastic?

Europe proposes a ban on disposable plastic items such as cutlery, straws and cotton swabs to cleanse the oceans.

The European Commission wants to ban 10 items that make up 70% of all waste in EU waters and beaches. The list also includes plastic plates and beverage stirrers.

The draft rules were presented on Monday but have to be approved by all EU Member States and the European Parliament. It could take three or four years for the rules to come into effect.

Legislation is not just about banning plastic products. In addition, plastic producers will bear the costs of waste disposal and clean-up, and it is proposed that EU countries should collect 90% of disposable plastic bottles by 2025 through new recycling programs.

The European Commission estimates that these rules, once fully implemented in 2030, could cost businesses more than € 3 billion a year. But they could also save consumers € 6.5 billion, create 30,000 jobs and save € 22 billion in environmental damage and cleanup costs.

Related: China garbage ban is a global recycling alarm

The Rethink Plastic Alliance ̵

1; an association of environmental organizations – called the proposals "a big step forward in tackling plastic pollution," but criticized some shortcomings.

The proposals do not set targets for EU countries to reduce the use of plastic cups and food containers.

"This could lead to countries claiming they are taking the necessary steps as long as a reduction is achieved, no matter how small," the Alliance said in a statement.

  Plastic cutlery
Europe could ban plastic cutlery in the coming years.

The proposal also met with criticism in the plastics industry.

Plastics Europe, representing the manufacturers, said it supports the "overall objective" of the proposal, but said that more resources would have to be made available for "waste management" to ensure a better collection of used plastic.

"Plastic product bans are not the answer," it said in a statement, noting that "alternative products may not be more sustainable."

Related: Starbucks offers $ 10 million for ideas for a better cup

On a global basis, only 14% of the plastic is collected for recycling. The reuse rate is horrible compared to other materials – 58% paper and up to 90% iron and steel are recycled.

Research shows that more plastic than fish will gain weight in the world's oceans by 2050, bringing political leaders, individuals and businesses into action.

Last month a group of more than 40 companies, including Coca-Cola ( KO ) Nestle ( NSRGF ) [19659021Unilever ( UL ) and Procter & Gamble ( PG ) promised the amount of plastic they use and throw it away in the UK.

SBUX also announced a $ 10 million Grant Challenge in March to collect designs for a cup that would be easier to recycle is.

CNNMoney (London) First published May 28, 2018: 11:00 ET


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