Germany Latest State to Ban Single-Use Plastics
- Single-use plastic straws, cotton buds, and cutlery included within the German ban
- Deadline of July 2021 brings the country in line with European Union directive
- Just under a third of Germany’s 18 million-ton waste is plastic-based
Germany has agreed a plan to outlaw the sale of a range of single-use plastic products, including plastic straws, cotton buds, and cutlery.
The ban, which will also apply to stirring sticks, balloon holders, single-use food containers, and plates, will come into effect by 3 July 2021. Polystyrene cups will also be banned.
The move makes Germany the latest country to implement such a ban, after Wales passed a similar law earlier this year. Spain, meanwhile, has drafted legislation that will introduce a single-use plastic ban of its own.
Efforts by states across Europe to clamp down on single-use plastics come in the wake of the EU directive outlawing the products across the bloc by 2021. All EU states are expected to comply.
Across the Atlantic, meanwhile, Canada too is on track for a similar ban on one-use plastics by 2021.
Svenja Schulze, Germany’s minister for the environment, said that the country’s move was designed to tackle precisely this kind of “throw-away culture”.
As much as 20% of rubbish collected in parks and public spaces across Germany is single-use plastic, according to the Associated Press.
Germany enjoys a reputation for being one of the world’s leading recycling nations. However, a recent report found that over half of plastic waste produced by the country is incinerated. A third of the remaining total, meanwhile, is exported abroad for processing.
Moves by governments across the world to cut down on single-use plastics has been spurred on by reports that over 80% of litter in the ocean is plastic-based.
A further 8 million tonnes of plastic are believed to find their way into the ocean every year.