EU proposes to ban plastic straws, stirs, and cotton buds

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The EU's measures tackle the top 10 plastic products that wash up on Europe's beaches and fill its seas, including a ban on the private use of single-use plastics like plastic straws, plates and utensils and containers used for fast food or your daily takeaway coffee.

While correlation does not imply causation, it is easily noticeable from the proposal's underlying documentation that the products for which the strictest measures are proposed, are also the ones most often produced outside the EU.

"The European Commission promised to be big on the big issues and plastic waste is undeniably a big issue".

- Extended producer responsibility schemes to be established for fishing gear containing plastic.

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"Plastic product bans are not the solution", it said in a statement, and noted that "alternative products may not be more sustainable".

The EU proposals will need to be approved by the EU's 28 member states.

It was referred to very briefly in Monday's press conference, by commission vice-president in charge of jobs and growth, Jyrki Katainen.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan also welcomed the moves but said they "mirror" elements of his party's Waste Bill.

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"The Government has fought against our Bill every step of the way but should now change tack and support what the Commission Environmental NGOs and the rest of the political system agree has to be done" he said.

Improved waste management of abandoned and lost fishing gear, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of Europe's beach litter, is also mandated in the proposal.

"It is crucial that the concept of reduction remains at the heart of the European Union plastics strategy and pressure is kept on industry to explore alternatives to single-use plastics" she said. Alongside coffee cups, cotton buds, plates, straws and stirrers, these things may not be a problem in isolation, but together they're an environmental epidemic.

The backers of this legislation also recognize that the victor of this race will be a leader in supplying solutions to the rest of the globe as other countries come to realize that action must be taken to prevent plastics from strangling our oceans, and will be saving future generations money that would otherwise be spent on cleaning up the mess.

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