In a press release published on May 21, 2019, the European Council announced the formal adoption of new rules within the European Union that will restrict many single-use plastic items and introduce recycling targets. The European Parliament approved of the new directive in March 2019 (FPF reported), and the adoption by the Council was the final step in the procedure before becoming law. “Under the new rules, single-use plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks and cotton buds will be banned by 2021.” Member States have also agreed to achieve a 90% collection rate for plastic bottles by 2029 as well as a recycled content in plastic bottles of at least 25% by 2025 and 30% by 2030. Once published in the Official Journal of the European Union, Member States will have two years to implement the directive into their national laws. In a press release published on May 22, 2019, the UK government also declared that from April 2020 there will be “a ban on plastic straws, drinks stirrers, and plastic stemmed cotton buds in England, following overwhelming public support for the move.”

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European Commission (May 21, 2019). “Circular Economy: Commission welcomes Council final adoption of new rules on single-use plastics to reduce marine plastic litter.”

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UK Government (May 22, 2019). “Gove takes action to ban plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds.”

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Plastics News Europe (May 24, 2019). “UK to ban some single-use plastics from 2020.”