With nearly three-quarters of the marine litter in the world's seas being plastic, the European Parliament has approved today a proposal that would ban single-use plastics wherever possible.

Single-use plastic (SUP) such as disposable cutlery account for nearly half of all marine litter.

Further, the Parliament’s proposal goes beyond merely banning plastics; it includes requirements for manufacturers to design plastic products responsibly, to reduce consumption of certain products and to raise awareness, among other measures.

“Attempts to weaken this Directive fell flat on their face”, says Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin, Ireland).

“EPP’s attempt to chip away at the measures on extended producer responsibility were rejected by the Parliament, and we can now continue negotiations with the Council on strong provisions making the producers of plastic waste responsible.”

“This new Directive lays down, for the first time in legislation, a definition of 'single-use plastic product'. The environment committee adopted a restricted definition, limiting it to items literally used only once, which would substantially limit the ambition of the Directive to include other plastic products in the future. It is great that this definition fell and we now return to the broader Commission definition. “

The Irish MEP also proposed concrete measures to protect public health of European citizens: 

“I am happy that the Parliament supported my new article obliging member states to ensure that no toxic substances are present in sanitary items. However, I am disappointed that the obligation on ensuring the availability and affordability of reusable sanitary items was voted down.”

“It’s still a great achievement that the Parliament adopted our GUE/NGL amendment calling on the Commission and member states to set up an EU programme for cleaning up plastic waste in the oceans by 2020,” Boylan concluded.

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