Single use plastics are to be banned in the European Union (EU) by 2019, at least they are where sustainable and affordable alternatives exist.
If approved, the proposal, now subject to a vote, it will affect ten such products including plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons.
These items will have to be made from more sustainable materials instead, such as paper and wood. Of greater interest to the graphics industry is the somewhat challenging requirement for plastic single-use drinks containers, which are often printed.
The rule says “single-use drinks containers made with plastic will only be allowed on the market if their caps and lids remain attached”.
There are also plans afoot to require EU member countries to collect 90% of used plastic bottles by 2025, presumably based on production volumes.