By Brittany Shoot
October 24, 2018

The European Union Parliament has voted to ban single-use plastics.

Parliament, the EU’s legislative body comprised of 751 elected members (MEPs), voted 571-53 in favor of the bill. Banned items will include plastic plates, cutlery, and straws, and the proposal also calls for a reduction in the use of other single-use food and beverage containers such as plastic cups, according to the BBC.

The European Commission, which proposes legislation to the EU Parliament, put forward the ban in May in response to ongoing public awareness of and outcry against plastic pollution, particularly in the world’s oceans. The MEP behind the bill, Frédérique Ries, called the vote “a victory for our oceans, for the environment and for future generations.”

The EU, the world’s second-largest consumer market after the United States, hopes the ban could go into effect across the bloc as early as 2021. If the ban becomes a fully-formed directive before the end of the Brexit transition, the United Kingdom will have to incorporate the guidelines into national law.

The U.S. has also been slowly adopting plastics bans in cities and across states. The city of Seattle and the state of California have already banned single-use plastic straws in specific contexts such as full-service restaurants, and several more cities and states are considering following suit. Some companies have also been proactively promising to ditch plastic straws and single-use plastic packaging, including Starbucks and Ikea.

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