European parliament on Thursday backed the ban of single use plastic throughout the Europe. The legislation received overwhelming response of 560 supporting it with merely 35 going against it and 28 abstained. The European legislation shall be applicable in 2021 and would create bigger impact on the commodity plastics which are widely used in packaging. The move has been expected has analysts when the legislation was filed after revelation of plastic being the largest polluting contributor. Key polymer markets which are expected to be impacted by the legislation are polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene foam, which have huge exposure in the food packaging. The product categories which are expected to take the biggest hit are drink stirrers, plastic cutlery, straws, and foam takeout containers.
The parliament also pushed for targeting use of 90% recycled plastic by 2025 and highlighting the potential environmental harms in the other plastic products such as wet wipes along with ways for disposal. The parliament emphasized the need to transform the accountability to bring producers within onus fence and not blaming the consumers only for the litter being pushed to the seas. The European Union has estimated that the cost of the changes would be in range of $291 million to $781 million per year, while saving $25 billion worth of environmental damages.
The parliament has also taken steps to reduce other products wastages such as cigarette butts, via penalizing the cigarette makers for the cleaning charges. The members of the parliament expressed hopes of creating healthier and cleaner environment. They said that the current acceptance of banning the single-use plastic is the first step in this direction, setting new global standards, and paving way for rest of the world.
– Ankur Kalra
Manager – Chemicals & Materials