MEPs voted almost unanimously – 560 votes in favour, 35 against, 28 abstentions – for a definitive ban on disposable plastic items, such as plates, cutlery, glasses, cotton swabs, straws, balloon sticks… Take-away food packaging that cannot be reused is even banned. A veto which will become effective from 2021 and which culminates a long-distance race against this type of use of plastic for ecological reasons.

The ban, which was already adopted informally in October, also includes recovery targets focused on improving the health of the seas and oceans. For example, it aims to have 90% of plastic bottles recovered by 2029 within a decade. A little earlier, in 2025, 25% of the plastic in the bottles will have to be recycled. By 2030, this percentage should be 30%.

Single-use plastics account for 70% of marine debris – global plastic debris rises to 80% – which in turn is responsible for microplastics, garbage islands and biological pollution.

Because of their very slow biodegradation they end up being ingested by the marine fauna, which we humans also ingest – by all means not all – and explains the fact that microplastics have already been found in human faeces.

As it is a European guideline, it will be up to each of the member countries to determine the concrete measures that will be carried out for these purposes, including those to promote the use of recycled plastics. We can expect this to happen in the coming months.

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