Plastic items such as straws, forks and knives as well as cotton buds will be banned in EU by 2021 as the economic bloc pushes manufacturers to step up their recycling efforts.
European lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday for an EU-wide ban on single-use plastic products such as the straws, cutlery and cotton buds that are clogging the world's oceans.
The text had already been approved in negotiations with member states and EU officials and it will now be rapidly approved into law. The ban comes into effect from 2021.
EU Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said Europe was not the worst source of plastic pollution, but that the pioneering measure could serve as an example to the world.
"Asian countries are very much interested in what we're doing. Latin American countries too," he said.
"Even though our share of the pollution is relatively limited, our change of the economic model has a global impact."
The law passed by 560 votes to 35 in the Strasbourg assembly.
TRT World's Sarah Morice has more.
Growing concerns about plastic pollution in oceans and stories of dead whales with plastic in their stomachs, together with China's decision to stop processing waste have prompted the EU to take more drastic steps to tackle the issue.
Marine litter has come under the spotlight because 85 percent of it is plastic.
Today is a great day for #OceanEU! We welcome the adoption by @Europarl_EN of the @EU_Commission proposal to tackle #marinelitter coming from the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on 🇪🇺 beaches, lost fishing gear & oxo-degradable plastics. ➡️https://t.co/q55GvQoyn0 pic.twitter.com/jD66Pum2ZU— EU Maritime & Fish (@EU_MARE) March 27, 2019
Polluters to pay costs of clean-up
Aside from the ban on a dozen kinds of disposable products for which alternatives exist, the EU will encourage member states to reduce the use of plastic packaging and introduce stricter labelling rules.
The law sets a target that 90 percent of plastic bottles will be gathered for recycling by 2029 and that they should be produced with 25 percent recycled material by 2025, 30 percent by 2030.
Rules insisting that polluters pay the costs of a clean-up are strengthened, particularly for cigarette manufacturers, who will have to support the recycling of discarded filters.
According to the EU Commission, the products prohibited under the law represent 70 percent of the waste that pours into the world's oceans, posing a threat to wildlife and fisheries.