The European Parliament has backed proposals which will see a range of single-use plastic items banned across the continent by 2021.
The law, which also includes a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, was overwhelmingly passed by the European Parliament in late March, with 560 MEPs voting in favour and 35 against.
It will come into effect following approval by the European Council of Ministers, and depending on the date of UK’s exit from the EU, could apply in Britain as well.
The legislation will mean that member states can no longer use single-use plastic cutlery, plates, straws and cotton buds by 2021.
The passed legislation also includes a motion that all plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25% of recycled content by 2025 and 30% by 2030.
Lead MEP Frédérique Ries said:
“This legislation will reduce the environmental damage bill by €22 billion - the estimated cost of plastic pollution in Europe until 2030.
“Europe now has a legislative model to defend and promote at international level, given the global nature of the issue of marine pollution involving plastics. This is essential for the planet.”
With single-use plastics an increasingly discussed topic in the UK, the government has developed a number of its own policies around plastic waste, many of which have been set out in the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy. This includes a tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled content, which could rise in the future.
According to the European Commission, more than 80% of marine litter is plastics. The products covered by this new law constitute 70% of all marine litter items, the Commission said.