The proposals are part of a drive in Brussels to tackle pollution from plastic waste, which is now showing up in the food chain. "These products won't disappear, they will just be made with different materials", said commission first vice-president Frans Timmermans.
Katainen stated: "Single-use plastics are not a smart economic or environmental choice, and today's proposals will help business and consumers to move towards sustainable alternatives".
Members of the European Parliament and the EU Council will now be able to amend and tinker with the text in a process that is nearly certain to last until after the United Kingdom leaves the bloc, which means it will not be transposed into British law.
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The EU's proposals are targeting disposable food containers and dining ware, from plastic plates and cups, to packaging for food products such as fast food. "They can do so by setting national reduction targets, making alternative products available at the point of sale, or ensuring that single-use plastic products cannot be provided free of charge", suggests the EC proposal. It also introduces measures to increase consumer awareness about the environmental impacts of single-use plastics, and extends the responsibility of producers to bear the costs of waste management and clean up of marine litter.
Producers will also, along with governments, need to contribute to awareness-raising campaigns created to better educate consumers about the reuse and recycling options available, as well as the negative impact on the environment caused by single-use items.
Taken collectively, the measures would additionally contribute considerably to the achievement of the European Union's local weather objectives, avoiding about 3.four million metric tons, or about 3.7 million tons, of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, in response to the European Union. Instead, the focus would be on limiting use through national measures. In 2016, Californian's voted to ban plastic bags which was rewarded with a drop of 72 percent in the amount of such waste found by litter collectors by the next year.
The proposal also faced criticism from the plastics industry.