Following lengthy negotiations with the Council an agreement was reached early this morning that will reaffirm the leading role of the European Union in the global fight against plastic marine pollution.
The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament played a decisive role in achieving an outcome that is far more ambitious than the original Commission proposal. For the first time, the EU adopts a legal framework that includes a set of different measures for different product categories. Single-use plastic products will be banned if there is an available and affordable alternative, such as cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers, sticks for balloons, products made of oxo-degradable plastic, and food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene. For other products, the aim is to limit their use and to improve waste management.
The S&D negotiator Massimo Paolucci MEP stated:
“Our Group played a decisive role in increasing the level of the ambition of the Directive on a number of points, such as adding products made of oxo-degradable plastic and single-use products made of expanded polystyrene to the list of bans. We also secured that plastic bottles will have to be separately collected with a rate of 90% by 2029, and made of at least 25% recycled content from 2025 for bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and at least 30% for all bottles from 2030.
“Tobacco filters will be subject to marking requirements as containing plastic, while fishing gears will have to be collected separately, since both items are major contributors to plastic pollution.”