The newest in legislations the European Union is planning to implement might be environmentally-friendly, but it certainly is a party pooper. If the bill gets proposed and enacted into law, the regulation will change kids’ birthday parties forever. The regulation? No more plastic balloon sticks, plates, cutlery, and straws everywhere.
This is according to a draft proposal that was obtained by folks from Politico, which appears to push for an EU-wide ban on the aforementioned ban on these plastic-based objects in an effort to fully reduce plastic pollution within its member regions, particular on beaches and in oceans. In another document alongside the proposal, the European Commission chose such an action as “other alternatives” already exist in the market and are waiting to be used.
Not everyone appears to be for the resolution as well. Suteesh Chumber of the European Balloon and Party Council (yes, there’s such a thing) said that while there’s an evident positive advantage of getting rid of plastics in oceans and in the environment, the proposal may need some thinking through. He cited that banning plastic sticks on balloons, for instance, will have children hold the balloons via strings, which is not as safe. Chumber said an “experience” will be taken away from the children.
Interestingly, the Commission did not comment on the document Politico retrieved. They did express that the aim of the Commission is not to restrict the use of products, but rather propose measures to encourage industries in Europe to find better ways to dispose single-use plastics and contribute towards recycling and clean-up costs. Restrictions, they said, will be in the picture only if the are alternatives available.
The Crusade against Plastics
However, it’s not just parties that will be affected. The Commission appears to seek a way to “significantly reduce” the consumption of plastics, especially those that are one-time use only. These include use-and-dispose throwaway cups and takeaway food containers.
Part of the initiative involves plans for what’s known as the Plastics Strategy in January 2018, wherein the EU did promise to focus on items that are the most littered, including balloons, tampons and sanitary pads, wet wipes, lightweight plastic bags, cigarette filters, lids and cups, plastic bottles, food wrappers, and food containers.
Part of this ”crusade” against plastics involves the Commission to make a plan that involves producers paying for the cost of end-of-life treatment, transport, and collection of litter – including marine litter, for fishing gear. A push to inform consumers of the impact of littering and available recycling options are also being considered.
The initiative isn’t the EU solely being a party pooper, however, as EU – and some of its member states – have already taken up an aggressive stance towards sustainability and environmental friendliness. Should the proposal become national law, EU countries may be required to achieve “significant reduction” levels via reduction targets, or by charging consumers who want to use them at a retail level.
Part of the proposal includes requiring EU countries to collect as much as 90-percent of the plastic bottles that are put on the market by the year 2025 moving forward – this can be done by having producers pay for collection, or consumers getting paid to deliver the plastics themselves.
Business are of course naturally concerned, especially the plastic industry, which believes the focus should be towards encouraging the public to be more responsible with their plastic waste. Eamon Bates of Pack2Go said that while producers must participate in the cause, to have them pay for clean-up may be the Commission’s “easy way out.”
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