• Single-use plastic items such as straws and polystyrene cups will be banned in the European Union by 2021, as they passed measures to cut plastic use in a bid to reduce marine litter.
  • Negotiators from the European Parliament and for the 28 EU countries agreed a list of 10 single-use plastic products with readily available alternatives that will be banned.
  • The items include cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers, sticks for balloons and food containers made of expanded polystyrene.
  • For other plastic items, such as food containers and drinks cups and lids, the focus will be on limiting their use and setting clean-up obligations in some cases for manufacturers.
  • All plastic bottles will have to have at least 30 per cent recycled content by 2030.
  • Producers of tobacco filters containing plastic will have to cover the costs for public collection of cigarette stubs.
  • There will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050 if we continue dumping plastic in the sea at the present rate.
  • Austria, which holds the rotating EU presidency, led talks on behalf of the 28 EU members.
  • There was no EU-wide target to reduce consumption of food containers and cups, no obligation for EU countries to adopt targets, and a requirement only by 2029 to ensure 90 per cent of plastic bottles are collected separately.
  • The EU recycles only a quarter of the 25 million tonnes of plastics waste it produces per year.
  • China’s decision to stop processing waste coupled with growing alarm over damage to oceans has pushed the continent to end reliance on developing countries to deal with its waste.