The European Commission is planning a complete overhaul of its environmental policy

Its first order of business is the ban on ten plastic items that create waste in European waters. According to the European Commission, these ten items account for 70% of litter in EU waters. In addition, it wants manufacturers of plastic products to pay for the large majority of waste cleanup.

The Commission also wants the EU to implement new recycling efforts – their goal is to collect 90% of plastic water bottles by 2025.

These new policies will cost producers over €3 billion annually, but it will also help the economy. It would save consumers €6.5 billion annually, create 30,000 new jobs, and reduce cleanup costs by €22 billion.

However, not everyone is on board with the proposed policy. Plastic producers are disgruntled because of the money they will lose; further, they believe that reducing plastic production will not significantly reduce help the environment. They claim that “alternative products may not be more sustainable.”

And they may be right. Only 14% of plastic is recycled, compared to 58% of paper and 90% of iron and steel. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a problem.

One plastic water bottle accounts for 3 ounces of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which in turn causes global warming. Additionally, roughly .0007 barrels of oil are used to make one plastic water bottle – this may not seem substantial, but it adds up after enough water bottles.

Every member of the 28 states in the EU must approve this proposal for it to pass, so it may take a while. But overall, this is a positive step in saving the environment.

 

Featured image via Pixabay/Hans