The European parliament voted Wednesday to support plans for the elimination of most uses of single-use plastic, ranging from cutlery and straws to coffee stirrers and plastic plates.
It’s a significant step that could encourage other governments around the globe to also commit to reducing the amount of plastics that end up in landfills, waterways, and oceans — but it’s not going to be instituted overnight.
In October 2018, the EU voted on the proposal that was overwhelmingly backed by the European Parliament. This week’s vote could lead to EU member states implementing a ban by 2021.
Also included are plans to improve the quality of tap water and reduce the use of plastic bottles. The proposal also would “tighten the maximum limits for certain pollutants such as lead (to be reduced by half), harmful bacteria, and introduce new caps for most polluting substances found in tap water,” according to a statement.
The new plans would also require plastic bottles to be made up of 25 percent recycled material by 2025.
We’ve reported previously about large cities banning single-use plastic straws, which pose a serious threat to marine life. Seattle became the first major U.S. city to ban them in July 2018 to avoid dumping more plastic into our planet’s oceans.
But the entire EU backing a ban is a major move — and one that could push other areas around the world to follow suit.
READ MORE: Europe bans single-use plastics. And glitter could be next. [The Washington Post]
More on the plastic ban: The EU Just Voted to Completely Ban Single-Use Plastics