Europe

Germany bans single-use plastic straws, food containers

Germany is rolling out bans on the sale of single-use plastic items such as straws, cotton swabs and food containers to reduce plastic waste and environmental pollution.

Germany’s Cabinet came to a decision Wednesday to end single-use plastic sales by July 2021, The Associated Press reported.

Single-use plastic cutlery, plates, stirring sticks and polystyrene cups were also included on the list of items to be banned.

Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said the purpose of the ban is part of an effort to divert away from “throw-away culture.”

The initiative coincides with a broader European Union directive to limit waste across all of its member nations, the AP noted.

Last year, Canada announced a similar goal to ban single-use plastic by 2021.

“Canada will ban harmful single-use plastics from coast to coast. … This is a big step, but we know can do this for 2021,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Plastics, which can take decades to degrade and have been discovered inside the bodies of wildlife such as birds and fish, have been the subject of U.S. state legislation in recent years.

While there are no federal restrictions on single-use plastics, eight states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont — have banned single-use plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

Tags Canada Drinking straw Germany Justin Trudeau Phase-out of lightweight plastic bags Plastic pollution Svenja Schulze U.S.

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