In a landslide vote, the European Parliament has just approved a widespread ban on a dozen forms of single-use plastics.
The directive, which was passed by 571 votes to 53, will prohibit the use of many of the most commonly found forms of plastic pollution, including cotton swabs, plastic plates and cutlery, straws, and drink stirrers.
These items were selected for the ban because they can be easily replaced by biodegradable or environmentally-friendly materials. Materials that cannot be so easily replaced by the manufacturers, such as cigarette filters and plastic bottles, have still been given aggressive deadlines for curbing their plastic usage, according to BBC’s reporting.
Part of the legislation demands that 90% of plastic bottles will be collected for recycling by 2025 – a steep increase from its current rate of 20%. Meanwhile, cigarette companies will have to reduce their plastic usage by 80% over the course of the next 12 years.
Frédérique Ries, the MEP responsible for the legislation, called the ban’s approval “a victory for our oceans, for the environment and for future generations,” BBC reports.
Though the European member states still have to issue their formal backing of the ban, legislators are confident that it will continue to receive overwhelming support and move quickly through the voting process.
“We hope to have a vote in the European council in November,” one commissioner told The Guardian. “If all goes well, we could have it in law by the end of the year.”
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