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0 Comments | Jun 01, 2018

Plastic Ban Aimed to Save the Ocean

No Dumping SignPlastic is virtually everywhere. Just think about how much of it you’ve handled over the course of a week. With every small purchase, you are handed a plastic bag. Everything from potato chips, water, and even some fruit comes in disposable plastic. Where does it all end up when you’re through with it? Apparently the ocean.

In an ambitious effort to clean up Europe’s beaches and protect the seas, the European Commission proposed a set of measures to reduce or alter the consumption and production of the top 10 plastic items most commonly found on beaches. If approved, the European Union will lead the way in reducing marine litter worldwide.

The goal is to ban single-use plastics, which currently make up 49 percent of beach litter, and crack down on illegal dumping. European countries, like Italy, Portugal, Belgium, France, and Denmark have already taken the first steps to reduce plastic waste on a national level. Together, they are attempting to put a dent in the 46 billion bottles, 36 billion straws, 16 billion coffee cups, and two billion plastic take out containers that are consumed annually in the European Union. It’s a tall order, but one that needs to be taken nonetheless.

While at first glance it might seem like these efforts are going to be solely funded on tax dollars, the Commission’s proposal is urging producers to share responsibility for raising awareness and managing waste. This means initiating clean-up efforts, posting No Dumping Signs, and, most importantly, reducing the amount of plastic they produce. Considering this will likely cost the plastics industry $3.5 billion annually, the Commission is expecting a large push back against the proposed regulations.

It should also be noted that, although the plastic versions of these items may disappear, the item itself will not. The intention is to start producing single-use plastics with different materials that are environmentally friendly. So whether you agree with the proposed regulation or not, at least you don’t have to worry about your favorite items leaving store shelves.