European Union Vote to Ban The Plastic

Here at Smuggy HQ we are feeling pretty smug that the European Union (EU) have FINALLY followed our lead and joined the war on plastic.

Those smug fellows down in the European Parliament have overwhelmingly voted to ban single-use plastic. The vote result was 571 smug votes, 53 against and 34 abstentions. We can all speculate to which country the abstentions were from and that is a fun game.

The EUs executive arm proposed banning items that it said accounts for 70% of the waste in oceans and beaches. One Member of the European Parliament (MEP) was smugly quoted “"(without action) by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans". We would point out that this bullish statement was made after the landslide victory in favour of the new legislation.

The legislation coincidentally followed China’s decision to ban imports of foreign waste products for recycling. Whatever the stimulus for the decision, the EU are leading the world in trying to protect the oceans, we think that is pretty neat.

Some finer details of the legislation:

  • Targets single-use cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers, which were on the commission's original list of 10 items

  • MEPs added polystyrenes used to wrap fast-food and oxo-plastics, such as bags that have been touted as biodegradable but which break up into tiny particles

  • The legislation calls for plastic items where no alternatives are available to be reduced by at least 25 percent by 2025

  • Drinks bottles and other plastics will have to be collected separately and recycled at a rate of 90 percent by 2025

  • Reducing waste from tobacco products, especially cigarette filters containing plastic, by 50 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2030

  • Ensures at least 50 percent of lost or abandoned fishing gear containing plastic is collected annually

To our friends over in the United States of Europe, we commend you from the bottom of our oceans. This legislation is what we have been hoping for. People will argue it is not enough but I don’t remember anyone winning a marathon in one leap. Let’s hope the rest of the world see how self-satisfied this makes the Europeans and in turn choose to embrace the smug and follow suit.