The initiative is based on the fact that the single-use plastic objects are 70 percent of trash in the ocean. Research published in the online journal Scientific Reports estimates a garbage patch of some 79,000 metric tonnes – 1.8 trillion pieces – of plastic has formed in the Pacific Ocean. In their draft directive, the EU Commission wants ban on the private use of disposable plastic products like straws, plastic plates, plastic utensils, plastic coffee stirrers, cotton swabs with plastic stems and plastic balloon holders. Producers of certain products will be required to help cover the costs of clean-up and waste treatment, including: tobacco products with filters (such as cigarette butts), plastic bags, candy wrappers, potato chip packages and wet wipes.
According to the document, each member state should use a deposit system or other measure in order to collect 90 percent of plastic bottles used in their country by 2025. Plastic waste poses life-threatening dangers to ocean-dwellers, birds and animals further up the food chain. The Commission proposal will still need to be approved by the European Parliament and Council, and the Commission said it hoped for it to be given the green light before the European elections in May 2019.