A European directive banning so-called “single-use plastics” will come into effect from the end of this week. Stores are no longer allowed to sell disposable plastic cups, cutlery, plates, straws and stirrers.
The directive was already announced in 2018: the European Commission would have restricted individual use of plastic. This relates to disposable items such as cotton swabs, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, balloon sticks, polystyrene cups and trays for fast food and other foods. The directive was translated into law in Belgium by PS. Supermarkets should offer more sustainable alternatives.
The European Commission hopes this will reduce plastic litter that easily ends up at sea. Plastic often contains toxic substances that do not naturally degrade. In addition, many animals face difficulties due to floating waste. In 2017, another picture of a seahorse holding a cotton swab went viral. According to the commission, half of the garbage found in the sea is of the single-use type.
The commission calculated that banning single-use plastics could save 3.4 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The consumer saves a total of 6.5 billion euros annually.