EU

Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

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European Union(EU) is moving to make some big changes to save the planet choking on plastic waste. The European Commission (EC) has announced on Monday that they are planning to ban on around 10 of the most lethal single-use plastic items including straws, cutlery, cotton buds, plates, stirrers and coffee cups.

These items are responsible for approximately 70% of all the garbage on the beaches which in turn, end up in the ocean killing marine animals and ultimately affecting our lives too. The indestructible plastics and microplastics are into our ecosystem now. It’s everywhere, even in our bodies.

The EU is coming up with the much needed solution. The ban on everyday use items doesn’t hint at putting the consumer’s ease at stake. The solution to the problem is to find eco-friendly alternatives without compromising the affordability of course.

“Plastic waste is undeniably a big issue and Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem because plastic waste ends up in our air, our soil, our oceans, and in our food,” the vice president of EC, Frans Timmermans said in a news release. “Today’s proposals will reduce single-use plastics on our supermarket shelves through a range of measures. We will ban some of these items, and substitute them with cleaner alternatives so people can still use their favorite products.”

The proposal is easier said than done. It will take more than a year to impose such regulations because the amount of plastic we use every day has made it an essential part of our lives. Annually, the world produces 300 million tonnes of plastic waste and Europe is responsible for 25 million tonnes of it. On top of it, only 14% of the plastic produced globally is collected and recycled.

EU has received good praise for the proposal. With Greenpeace giving a thumbs up to EU, several European countries like France, Denmark, Belgium and Italy are already ahead in the race to fighting plastic with most of the respondents in the EU expressed strong support for it.

“What this means in practice is that you won’t see single-use plastic cotton buds on your supermarket shelves, but ones made with more environmentally friendly materials instead,” Mr. Timmermans said. “The same will go for straws, drink stirrers, sticks for balloons, cutlery, and plates.”

“You can still organize a picnic, drink a cocktail and clean your ears, just like before,” he said. “And you get the added bonus that when you do so, you can have a clear conscience about the environmental impact of your actions.”

“I want to be very clear, these products won’t disappear,” he said, “they will just be made with different materials.”

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