In a vote with little resistance, EU Parliament will ban a variety of single-use plastic items by 2021.

The law, supported by 560 MEPs, and opposed by 35, will ban 10 of the major plastic pollutants that end up on beaches and in the oceans, which makes up 80 percent of all marine litter items.

These banned items will include cutlery, cotton buds, plates, straws, and plastic food and drink containers, which will be replaced by more environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Products using polystyrene, and oxo-degradable plastic, which contribute to micro-plastic pollution, will also be banned.

Companies producing these plastic products, as well as products that do not break down quickly, like wet wipes and tobacco filters, will be required to explain how to dispose of their products, warning consumers of the environmental impact that incorrectly disposing the items might have.

A new recycling initiative for plastic water bottles will also be put into place, ensuring that the bottles are made up of at least 30 percent of recycled materials by 2030, while MEPs hope to collect and recycle 90 percent of drink bottles by 2029.

These new rules are also set to reduce environmental damage costs, due to single use plastics, by £19 million.

The World Economic Forum estimates there to be 150 million tonnes of plastic in the ocean today, with 12.7 million tonnes of plastic ending up in the ocean yearly, impacting wildlife habitats and entering the human food chain through seafood products being consumed.

The final implementation of the legislation will occur in the next few weeks and the UK will need to follow these rules if it extends the Brexit transition period.

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

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