The European Union (EU) is determined to lead the way of reducing marine litter worldwide. To do so, they proposed ambitious improvement with their goals and regulations. One of the top goals is reducing the amount of the top ten plastic items most commonly found on beaches, including cotton swabs, fishing gear, straw, and disposable silverware. Plastic can be found all throughout the ocean, waterways, and air which has already started to invade human bodies. Vice president of the European Commission wants the EU to be in the lead in cleaning up the oceans, and their first step includes banning the use of single-use plastics. Some countries in the EU have already reduced the amount of their waste. In a survey conducted by the EU, it stated that 85 percent of respondents have strong support of these intense measures. If these measures pass, it can take up a year or more to fully implement them.
Some measures include replacing single-use plastic products with any viable alternatives. There will also be goals for member states to meet when reducing their plastic use. The Union wants to push more towards a deposit-refund system in hopes of recycling more than 90 percent of all plastic bottles by 2025. Therefore, producers can help cover the cost of waste management and raise awareness. When the EU sets in motion for reducing the amount of single-use plastics, they predict they can meet their goals and avoid 3.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emission by 2030. The EU is responsible for annually consuming about 46 billion bottles, 36 billion straws, 16 billion coffee cups, and two billion plastic takeout containers in 2017, according to the Seas at Risk which is an organization of environmental groups across Europe.
Stakeholders of the plastic production industry wish to see a change and urge the producers to share responsibility for raising awareness and managing waste. They applauded the European Commission’s proposal and agreed that further action needed to tak place. However, on the other side with the lobbyist watchdog groups, they said that these actions would be met with resistance and view the proposed regulations as “a horror prospect.” Some countries have banned some plastics. In 2015 and 2016, France then Italy banned the ultralightweight plastic bags. Belgium, Denmark, and Scotland plan to ban single-use plastic this year with Italy, Portugal, and Spain in the coming years.