EU lawmakers vote to ban single-use plastics across Europe

EU lawmakers vote to ban single-use plastics across Europe
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The European Parliament on Wednesday backed a wide-ranging proposal to ban the use of single-use plastics across the European Union.

The ban includes a full prohibition of plastic plates and utensils, cotton swabs, straws and drink stirrers and calls for reduced use of plastic cups and other similar food packaging products, according to the BBC.

The move is an effort to combat plastic pollution that threatens oceans and marine life. One member of the European Parliament who backed the ban said that "by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans" if the body did not act, according to the BBC.

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The bill was introduced in May by Frédérique Ries, who called Wednesday's vote "a victory for our oceans, for the environment and for future generations."

The EU hopes the ban, which was approved 571-53, will go through the necessary procedural steps and take effect by 2021.

The ban targets pollution from cigarette filters, ordering manufacturers to reduce their plastic inclusion by 80 percent by 2030. And EU member states will be required to recycle 90 percent of plastic bottles by 2025.

Bans on plastic straws and other single-use plastic products have gained traction in the U.S. and other cities worldwide, as well as among individual companies.

Supporters have said the bans are an easy way for individuals to reduce their plastic use and cut down on pollution. But critics have cited studies showing that the majority of ocean pollution is due to fishing equipment and that bans on plastic straws could create obstacles for people with disabilities.