The European Union will not allow the sale of ear swabs, straws and plastic cutlery, among other single-use products. These objects are part of the list of the 10 most frequently found on European beaches. And the institutions of the EU have closed in a record time an agreement to veto their commercialization. Now the member states have until 2021 to translate this directive into their national legislation.
The European Commission launched its proposal in May of this year. And this Wednesday morning, after more than 12 hours of negotiation, an agreement has been reached with the Parliament and the representatives of the Twenty-eight. The ministers of the Member States will approve tomorrow the European Council the political pre-agreement closed this morning. The European Parliament is expected to do so in the first quarter of 2019.
The new directive, which is included in the plastics strategy, uses as a basis a study carried out in 2016 Joint Research Center of the Commission, known by the acronym JRC, on the garbage that accumulates on European beaches. That report concluded that 84% of the waste found was plastics. And it offered a list of the garbage most present on the beaches with measures to reduce its use, which has served to elaborate the strategy of the European Commission.
Among those 10 products are the ear swabs, the single-use cutlery, the straws and the sticks to remove the drinks. It is, according to the Commission, to eliminate from the supermarkets the plastic products for single use that have "easily available and affordable alternatives".
Greenpeace has applauded the approved measures, which it considers "pioneers", to "eliminate and reduce single-use plastics". The responsible for the campaign of plastics of Greenpeace, Alba García, has indicated through a statement that this agreement is an "excellent first step" against a type of pollution "that is choking our rivers and oceans." In the future directive, percentages of recycled material will also be imposed for certain containers and the responsibility of the producers regarding their waste will be extended. García also applauds these initiatives, although he argues that the EU could have been more ambitious and demanded more from the producers.
Greenpeace reminds that now the States will have two years to transfer these new guidelines to their national regulations. This organization has urged Spain to do so and to set ambitious targets against plastic.