The European Commission has proposed a ban on ten single-use plastic products in order to curb marine plastic waste.
The proposal is in view of the growing plastic litter in oceans and seas.
As part of the proposed European Union-wide rules, the Commission plans to prohibit disposable plastic products that have plastic-free alternatives and in the absence of such alternatives, it aims to restrict their usage.
The plastic products proposed to be banned contribute to 70% of all marine waste and include cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons.
Disposable plastic drinks containers will only be allowed if their caps and lids remain attached.
European Commission first vice-president Frans Timmermans said: “Plastic waste is undeniably a big issue and Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem, because plastic waste ends up in our air, our soil, our oceans, and in our food.
“Today’s proposals will reduce single-use plastics on our supermarket shelves through a range of measures. We will ban some of these items, and substitute them with cleaner alternatives so people can still use their favourite products.”
The Commission urged member states to curb the use of plastic food containers and drinks cups by employing measures, such as setting national reduction targets or charging consumers for single-use plastic products.
In addition, the body noted that member nations will have to collect 90% of single-use plastic drinks bottles by 2025.
Other proposals include requiring producers of food containers, packets and wrappers, drinks containers and cups, tobacco products with filters, wet wipes, balloons, and lightweight plastic bags to help cover the costs of waste management and clean-up.
The rules also specify standardised labelling requirements for sanitary towels, wet wipes and balloons to educate users on how waste should be disposed of.
The Commission will submit the proposals to the European Parliament and Council for adoption.