The EU Just Banned Tons Of Single-Use Plastic

10 products are to be phased out by 2021.

single-use plastic
The EU has agreed to ban 10 different single-use plastic products. (Getty)
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Europeans have two years to stop using some single-use plastic products, reports Popular Science. Ranging from Q-tips to plastic forks and knives, ten products are on the banned list.

Up to 3% of plastic makes it way back into water once it’s gone through a water treatment plant. Among other ways, these microplastics can be left behind by our shoes and car tires as they wear, and then make their way into the water system through storm drains.

The agreement, however, has no mention of other plastics like takeout containers and plastic coffee cups. It does however stipulate that tobacco-filter makers will cover the cost of removing their plastic cigarette butts from the environment.

The EU has the power to ban other plastics but has yet to do so. “If fewer plastic items leak into the environment because of the plastic strategy, less microplastic can be generated,” Melanie Bergman, a plastic pollution researcher at Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute, says. “Still, there are important additional sources, which are not yet targeted. For example, thousands of microplastic fibers which are generated when we wash our clothes, a large proportion of which nowadays contains plastic.”

Although other countries or states have banned single-use plastic bags, the EU ban is the most comprehensive yet.

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