A ban on a whole range of single-use plastic items will come into force by 2021 following a vote approving a new, wide ranging law in the European parliament. © Natasha Ewins The directive was a direct result of monitoring of beach litter over a number of years and showing that measures needed to be taken to tackle it Dr Laura Foster , MCS Head of Clean Seas Among those items set to be banned are single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks), plastic plates, straws, cotton bud and balloon sticks. Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups are also included in the list. 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. Almost 30% of the litter found during the MCS Great British Beach Clean last September came from the public – including these items, whilst almost 50% of litter was ‘non-sourced’ – that’s stuff that’s too small to be identified but much of which will almost certainly have originally started life as many of the items on this list. Due to its slow rate of decomposition, […]

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