The European Union is taking the lead in saving the world. The EU parliament has voted to ban single-use plastic cutlery, plastic cotton swabs, straws, and coffee stirrers as part of a sweeping law aimed at fighting the plastic waste that pollutes oceans and beaches. The ban on single-use plastics will go into effect by 2021 in all EU member states (and maybe the U.K., depending on what happens with Brexit).
The countries aren’t stopping there, either: EU member states will also have to reduce the use of plastic food containers and plastic coffee lids. The new legislation also states that by 2025, plastic bottles should be made of 25% recycled content. According to Bloomberg, the new legislation also sets an admirable target of recycling 90% of plastic bottles by 2029–as well as a goal of making them out of 30% recycled material by 2030.
Parliament originally rolled out its plan at the end of 2018 and have now made good on the ambition directive. The single-use plastic ban will not only help the environment and protect the ocean, but by 2030, could reduce the cost of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe (which has been estimated to be around €22 billion). Saving money while saving the environment is undoubtedly a big win.