EU Plans to Take Steps Toward Combating the Plastics Problem

Plastic waste is a huge issue all around the world, and the EU is stepping up to take charge.

According to The Guardian, Brussels has launched a strategy to change the minds of Europeans regarding recycling. It’s also being done to cut back on tax damaging behavior and to modernize plastics production. Frans Timmermans, the vice-president of the commission, said that the country wants to give understanding to their citizens about non-degradable products. These would be products that take five seconds to produce, five minutes to use, and 500 years to break down.

If you’re curious about what these products actually are, Timmmermans says that they include coffee cups, lids, coffee and tea stirrers, take-out packaging, and disposable cutlery. The former Dutch diplomat spoke with The Guardian regarding the plastics problem.

“If we don’t do anything about this, 50 years down the road we will have more plastic than fish in the oceans … we have all the seen the images, whether you watch [the BBC’s] Blue Planet, whether you watch the beaches in Asian countries after storms. If children knew what the effects are of using single-use plastic straws for drinking sodas, or whatever, they might reconsider and use paper straws or no straws at all.”

Fortune says the EU plans to make all of the plastic packaging on the market bio-degradable by the year 2030. The plastics industry is the third-largest manufacturing industry in the United States, so that’s just a small portion of how much plastic is out there in the world.

Along with the goal of bio-degradable plastics, the commission is also taking steps to provide access to tap water. Millions of people constantly buy plastic water bottles and throw them out after use. If there was a tap water distribution center on the streets, it could encourage people to reuse their bottles instead of discarding them. There are also plans in the works to ban microplastics in personal care products and cosmetics. This is something that has already been done by the United Kingdom.

Each year, Europeans create 25 million tons of plastic waste. Making all of those plastics bio-degradable is one huge step toward helping the environment and protecting our earth.

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