• The Facts:The Entire European Union Just Voted To Ban All Single Use Plastics By 2021, as it turns out recycling is not really effective as we’ve been made to believe.
  • Reflect On:Why is it still legal to use plastics when so many biodegradable options exist?

The BBC has reported that the European Parliament has voted to completely ban single-use plastics in an attempt to put an end to the seemingly unending stream of plastic pollution filling our oceans.

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Single-use plastic products include anything, as the name suggests, that are used just once and then thrown away. Some of these products are recyclable, however, they are rarely recycled so they end up in our oceans and landfills. They include items such as: straws, bags, take out containers, cotton swabs and cups. These items can take several hundred years to degrade in the oceans and are drastically interfering with marine life. 70% of all marine litter is made up of single use plastics, according to the European Commission.

After enough public outcry and awareness was raised over the issue — making it known that we need to act fast, a vote at the European Parliament was held and a huge majority were in favor of the ban, 571 yays to 53 nays and 34 abstentions agreeing to enforce this ban by 2021.

One MEP said if no action was taken, “by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans”.

In addition to the 2021 all out ban on many single use products, the use of plastics for which no alternatives currently exist, such as food packaging, will also be required to be cut down by 25 percent by 2025. 90 percent of beverage containers will also be required to be collected and recycled by 2025.

“We have adopted the most ambitious legislation against single-use plastics,” Frédérique Ries, the MEP who proposed the bill, said in a statement. “It is essential in order to protect the marine environment and reduce the costs of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at 22 billion euros by 2030.”

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