Single-use plastics ban 2021

Single-use plastics ban 2021 – European Parliament approves

MEPs of the European Parliament have voted 571-53 in favour of a complete ban of single-use plastics for a range of household items such as plastic cutlery, straws, cotton buds, drink-stirrers and balloon sticks. This comes after the growing pressure to act to curb the rapidly growing pollution in our oceans.

Under the proposal, 10 single-use products would be banned by 2021 and EU states would be obliged to recycle 90% of plastic bottled by 2025.

The updated EU Legislation progress briefing for single-use plastics and fishing gear states that on European beaches plastics make up 80-80% of the marine litter!


Single-Use Plastics Ban, Marine Litter on EU Beaches
Marine Litter on EU Beaches, by count (2016) Data Source: European Commission

Marine litter on EU beaches, by count (2016).  The sampling numbers of the top ten Single-use Plastic items discovered by the study are as follows:-

  • 24,541 – Drinks bottles, caps and lids
  • 21,854 – Cigarette buts
  • 13,616 – Cotton buds sticks
  • 10,952 – Crisp packets / sweet wrappers
  •  9,943 – Sanitary applications
  •  6,410 – Plastic bags
  •  4,769 – Cutlery, straws and stirrers
  •  3,232 – Drink cups and cup lids
  •  2,706 – Balloons and balloon sticks
  •  2,602 – Food containers including fast food packaging


The proposed banned items include products made of oxo-degradable plastics and polystyrene fast-food containers.

The same study estimates that around three-quarters of the world’s seas marine litter is from single-use plastics.  This is from research published in 2015 suggesting that 2% to 5%, or 4.8 to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste, enter our oceans EACH YEAR!

Single-use plastic ocean pollution beach waste
Single-use plastics ocean waste and beach pollution

It is worth mentioning that some EU member states are taking or considering action already.

  • France has banned plastic cups and plates
  • Italy and France are banning plastic cotton buds
  • The United Kingdon wants to ban straws
  • Other countries, such as Ireland and Portugal are considering similar measures.




The European Parliaments proposal would bring a series of measures regarding the top 10 single-use plastics found on European beaches as well as fishing gear, these proposed measures depend ‘on the existence or absence of alternatives and separate collection and recycling streams’.


The proposal would also require a commision review six years after the transposition deadline.  EU member states would need to provide data on consumption reduction.


The proposed measures: –

These include the 10th October 2018 adopted report changes introduced by the ENVI committee to the commission proposal

Market restriction:

Banning single-use plastic products by 2021 for which affordable alternatives exist, as follows:-

Bamboo Cotton buds eco friendly packaging recyclable and biodegradable
Bamboo Cotton Buds
Biodegradable Bamboo Cutlery Disposable Cutlery Birchwood Eco-Friendly Bamboo
Biodegradable Birchwood Cutlery
Biodegradable plates compostable eco-friendly party plates
Biodegradable Compostable plates
Biodegradable Paper Drinking Straws Recycled packaging
Biodegradable Paper Drinking Straws








Consumption reduction:

Requiring the Member States to achieve a ‘significant reduction’ in the consumption of food containers and drinks cups, for instance by setting national targets, making
alternative products available to consumers, or ensuring that single-use plastic products cannot be provided free of charge.

Separate collection:

Requiring the Member States to ensure that by 2025, 90 % of single-use plastic drinks bottles are collected, for example through deposit refund schemes

Product design:

Requiring single-use plastics drinks containers and bottles to have their caps and lids attached.

Extended producer responsibility:

Requiring the Member States to ensure that extended producer responsibility schemes are established for a number of single-use plastic items (food containers,
packets and wrappers, drinks containers and cups, cigarette filters, wet wipes, balloons and lightweight plastic bags) as well as fishing gear. For single-use plastics items, producers would cover the costs of waste management and clean-up, as well as awareness-raising measures; for fishing gear, producers would cover the costs of waste management of gear delivered to port reception facilities.

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes require that producers take over the financial and/or organisational responsibility for collecting or taking back used goods, as well as for sorting and preparing for their recycling. Although extended producer responsibility is in principle an individual obligation, in practice producers often exert this responsibility collectively through ‘producer responsibility organisations’ (PROs).


Requiring certain items (sanitary towels, wet wipes and balloons) to bear a label indicating how items should be disposed of, the negative environmental impact of inappropriate disposal, and the presence of plastics in the product.

Awareness raising:

Requiring the Member States to raise consumers’ awareness of available re-use systems and waste management options as well as about the negative impacts of inappropriate disposal. These measures would apply to:-

  • Food containers
  • Drinks cups and drinks containers
  • Balloons
  • Packets and wrappers
  • Cigarette filters
  • Wet wipes and sanitary towels
  • Lightweight plastic carrier bags
  • Fishing gear.

Overview of proposed measures, by nature and item

The European Parliamentary research service released this image to show an overview of the proposed measures, by nature and item.

Single-Use Plastics Ban
Single-Use Plastics ban proposed measures by nature and item

Each of the listed single-use plastics shows their individual ranking in the top 10 list from the study, referenced with the proposed measures recommended for each item.

  • Market restrictions
  • Consumption reduction
  • Separate collection
  • Product design
  • Extended producer responsibility
  • Labelling
  • Awareness raising







The impact assessment, costs and benefits

The commission has estimated the costs and benefits of the proposal’s prefered option as follows: –

For single-use plastics, by 2030:

Costs – Decrease in producer turnover (€3.2 billion); information campaign costs (€0.6 billion); business compliance, commercial washing and refill schemes costs (€1.4 billion); waste management costs (€0.5 billion);

Benefits: – Decrease in top 10 single-use plastics marine litter by count (-56 %) and by weight (-35 %); decrease in greenhouse gas emissions (-2.63 million tonnes); reduction in external costs (-€11.1 billion); savings for consumers (€6.5 billion); additional jobs (4 000 full-time equivalents);

For fishing gear: –

Costs: – Set-up costs for extended producer responsibility schemes (€6.3 million); annual administrative and waste management costs for extended responsibility schemes (€11 million)

Benefits:- Decrease by 2 600 tonnes each year in the amount of fishing gear left at sea, which would generate between €2 million and €7 million in economic benefits for fishing, port and tourism industries.


Single-use plastic alternatives

Affordable alternatives for Single-use plastic products do already exist, so this brings hope that the measures listed and subsequent single-use plastics ban will pass the full legislative process.   Here are a few recent examples of the available products to combat single-use plastics pollution for common household items: –

Bamboo Cotton buds eco friendly packaging recyclable and biodegradable
Bamboo Cotton Buds
Biodegradable cotton buds

200 Bambaw Cottom Buds – Organic Cotton buds with a sustainable source bamboo stick

100% compostable

  • BIODEGRADABLE: The organic bamboo cotton buds are 100% biodegradable. The eco cotton buds come in a come in a recycled paper box. This eco-friendly option is a great alternative to polluting plastic cotton swabs.
  • PACK OF 200: There are 200 wooden cotton buds in the box.
  • BAMBOO STICK: Bamboo is a sustainable renewable resource the bamboo sticks are durable and stronger than paper sticks that do not cope well with water.



Biodegradable Paper Cotton Buds Cotton Swab Wooden Cotton Bud
Masmi Certified Organic Cotton Buds, Biodegradable Paper FSC stick, Hypoallergenic, Non-Chlorine Bleached


3×200 Masmi Certified Organic Cotton Buds

  • Made with Certified Organic Cotton and biodegradable paper FSC stick.
  • Does not contain perfumes or super-absorbents.
  • Purified without Chlorine and Dioxin, Hypoallergenic and Perfume Free,
  • PRODUCT AND PACKAGING The box is compressed gloss cardboard, the buds are made from certified organic cotton and the stems from compressed paper. We have recently removed all plastics from the wrapping used to combine the three pack, favouring brown paper taper. The only remaining plastic is the lid and the tape used to hold the lid in place.




Biodegradable Bamboo Cutlery Disposable Cutlery Birchwood Eco-Friendly Bamboo
Biodegradable Birchwood Cutlery

150 pack – Wooden Compostable Utensils 

100% Birchwood, Eco-Friendly, Green, Recyclable and natural.

Great Alternative for plastic, bamboo, silverware.

50 Spoons, 50 Knives and 50 Forks

Best for parties, camping, weddings, takeaways, catering and everyday use.



Biodegradable plates compostable eco-friendly party plates
Biodegradable Compostable plates

50 pack – Super Rigid Compostable Plates

  • EXTRA STRONG – Made from high-density bagasse sugar cane pulp, Signature Paper Plates are super rigid do not fall apart, crumble, or dissolve when used with liquids and hot foods
  • ECO-FRIENDLY and BIODEGRADABLE – Our disposable plates are completely compostable and will not harm the environment; completely non-toxic and safe
  • MICROWAVE and FREEZER SAFE – Signature Paper Plates can be used with liquids and hot foods, in the microwave, and be kept in the freezer without any issues




Biodegradable Paper Drinking Straws Recycled packaging
Biodegradable Paper Drinking Straws

150 pack – Biodegradable paper drinking straws – With Recycled packaging

  • Biodegradable Bulk Drinking Straws

  • Durable and sturdy. Non-plastic straws Eco-friendly for farms,pubs, bars, hotels & restaurants etc.

  • Package is also eco-friendly made of cardboad, no plastic bag. Pattern comes in separate space by cardboad then hold in High Quality Box.




Bamboo Drink Stirrers biodegradable compostable
Bamboo Drink Stirrers

1000 pack – Bamboo drink stirrers

  • The bamboo stirrers are free from petrol-based plastics, uncoated, completely biodegradable. Bamboo is a particularly fast renewable resource compared to wood.
  • The bamboo stirrers for your disposable coffee cups are of high quality
  • As an alternative to plastic stirring rods, these rods are significantly more stable and also particularly well suited for use in hot-boiled beverages.

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