The European parliament voted Wednesday to support plans for the elimination of most uses of single-use plastic, ranging from cutlery and straws to coffee stirrers and plastic plates.
It’s a significant step that could encourage other governments around the globe to also commit to reducing the amount of plastics that end up in landfills, waterways, and oceans — but it’s not going to be instituted overnight.
In October 2018, the EU voted on the proposal that was overwhelmingly backed by the European Parliament. This week’s vote could lead to EU member states implementing a ban by 2021.
Also included are plans to improve the quality of tap water and reduce the use of plastic bottles. The proposal also would “tighten the maximum limits for certain pollutants such as lead (to be reduced by half), harmful bacteria, and introduce new caps for most polluting substances found in tap water,” according to a statement.