In an article published on May 2, 2018 by news outlet Meta, Mauro Anastasio, communications officer for the circular economy at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), reported on the European Commission’s (EC) measure on single-use plastics that is part of the EC’s plastics strategy and expected to be published before the summer 2018 (FPF reported). A draft of the EC’s legislative proposal was obtained by newspaper Politico Europe and published in an article on April 27, 2018.

According to the draft, the EC intends to ban single-use plastic items such as straws, cutlery, plates, cotton buds, and balloon sticks. Further, the EC plans to “make producers pay for the cost of cleaning up and recycling of items that are commonly found on beaches and in oceans,” such as “food packaging, disposable bottles and cups, plastic bags and cigarette butts,” Anastasio explained. The directive also sets out that EU Member States must collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles put on the market each year, to be achieved by 2025. The main aim of these actions “is to significantly reduce plastic pollution,” Anastasio noted.

Margrete Auken, Danish member of the European Green Party, and Elise Vitali, expert on chemicals at the EEB, pointed out that the draft proposal does not address the presence of hazardous substances in plastics. “What is missing is action on the dangerous chemicals found in many plastic products,” Auken stated. “Our daily exposure to toxic chemicals used in food packaging and bottles can lead to chronic diseases,” Vitali added. Therefore, a comprehensive strategy on plastics must also address the human health effects of (endocrine disrupting) chemicals in plastics, such as bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) and phthalates, Vitali recommend. Hazardous chemicals must be removed from plastics in order to not reintroduce them to the market via recycling, she urged.

Read more

Mauro Anastasio (May 2, 2018). “Leaked: The draft EU laws to counter the plastic pollution crisis.Meta

Paola Tamma and Ginger Hervey (April 27, 2018). “Party poopers? Brussels plans to ban balloon sticks.Politico

Martin Banks (May 15, 2018). “EU to ban plastic straws, cutlery and balloons.The Parliament Magazine