The Council of the EU this week adopted new rules to ‘tackle the 10 most found plastic waste items on Europe’s beaches as well as fishing gear’. First proposed by the European Commission last year, the laws demonstrate the continent’s determination to take on the devastating scourge of marine waste.

Different approaches

The new rules will be applied so that ‘where alternatives are easily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market, such as cutlery, plates and straws’. For other products, the focus will be on reducing usage and improving design, with producers required to meet specific obligations.

“In a modern economy we have to reduce the amount of plastic litter and make sure we recycle most of the plastics used. More innovative and sustainable ways of production will bring new opportunities for European businesses, increasing their competitiveness, growth and job creation. Once implemented, the new rules will not only tackle plastic pollution, but also make the European Union the world leader in a more sustainable plastic policy, thus driving forward our circular economy,” said Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness.