On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted 571-to-53 to ban certain single use plastic items from the EU by 2021.  The legislation is aimed at reducing marine pollution and was drafted in May 2018 by the European Commission.  The Commission estimates that more than 80 percent of marine litter is plastics and that the items considered in the legislation comprise 70 percent of marine litter.  The banned single use items will include plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks, and cotton buds.  Oxo-degradable plastic products such as bags or fast-food containers will also be banned by 2021.

In addition, the legislation would create national reduction targets for the consumption of other plastic items such as food containers for fruits and vegetables and would require that 90 percent of beverage bottles be recycled by 2025.

The legislation will next be considered by the heads of state to the 28 Member States of the European Union via the European Council.  The European Council is expected to reach a “conclusion” by mid-December 2018.