Aligning with a European Union directive to reduce the amount of plastic waste, the German cabinet recently agreed to end the sale of single-use plastic products that include plastic straws, cotton buds, and food containers. Single-use cutlery, plates, stirring sticks, polystyrene cups and boxes will also be prohibited.
The move will come into effect from 3rd July 2021.
According to data released by the Federal Environmental Agency, a record 18.7 million tons of packaging waste was produced by Germany in 2017. Further, data released by the German Association of Local Utilities (VKU) estimates that common plastic items contribute towards about 10 to 20 per cent of waste in parks, public places, and streets. Of the waste produced, to-go packaging for food and beverages made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) possess the largest share.
The Environment Minister of Germany, Svenja Schulze said the decision was part of an effort to move away from a “throw-away culture.”
“Many single-use plastic products are superfluous and non-sustainable use of resources. In addition, plastics end too often in the environment or in the oceans.” Schulze added.
Plastics are extremely detrimental to the environment and the marine life. Firstly, they take decades to degrade, causing much harm to the environment. Also, microscopic particles have been found in the bodies of fish, birds, and other aquatic animals, causing their death.
Earlier in March 2019, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to ban the sale of single-use plastics by 2021.
This certainly is a welcome move by Germany, and we hope all nations across the world work collectively in ensuring that the world is a better, cleaner, and safer place to live in.