In addition to banning plastic products, the EU legislation would make plastic producers bear the cost of waste management and cleanup efforts. Plus, the EU proposes that member states must collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles by 2025 for recycling. The rules could cost businesses more than $3.5 billion a year, the European Commission estimates. However, they could also save consumers $7.6 billion a year, create 30,000 jobs and avoid $25.6 billion in environmental cleanup costs, according to the estimates.
Environmental groups called the draft legislation a “leap forward in tackling plastic pollution,” but plastic manufacturers said bans are not the solution, calling for more resources to be devoted to waste management instead.
Meanwhile, Chile is poised to become the first nation in the Americas to ban retail businesses from using plastic bags, in an effort to protect the country’s 4,000-mile coastline. Large retailers and supermarkets have six months to comply with the ban, with smaller businesses given two years to make the change.
“We’re convinced that our coast imposes an obligation to be leaders in cleaning up our oceans,” environment minister Marcela Cubillos told The New York Times. According to the ministry, Chileans use more than 3.4 million plastic bags a year, with the bulk ending up in landfills or the ocean. Elsewhere, the New York City Council is considering a ban on plastic straws at eateries across the five boroughs. It’s the latest of several measures meant to reduce plastic pollution in the Empire State. City Council is also considering a ban on sales of disposable plastic bottles at city parks, beaches and golf courses, while New York’s governor has proposed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.
“It’s important for New Yorkers to understand that the plastic straw is not a necessity,” the straw bill’s lead sponsor, Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr., told The New York Times. “It’s more of a luxury, and our luxury is causing great harm to other environments.”
More than 60 New York restaurants have already gone straw-free, according to The New York Times. If the ban passes, violators could face fines starting at $100.
Espinal said he believes the straw ban won’t be a burden for most New Yorkers, and will just require a “change of thinking.” He points to alternate products, including paper, bamboo and aluminum straws that could replace the harmful plastic versions. Indeed, many entrepreneurs are coming up with innovative solutions to make reusable straws more convenient: FinalStraw, for example, raised about $1.9 million on Kickstarter to manufacture collapsible metal straws stored in compact keychain carrying cases.
What can we do here in Florida? It starts with you and your business. Be aware of the decisions you make and how they affect the environment. You can offer reusable bags, if you own a restaurant consider banning plastic one use items such as cutlery and straws. Use bio-degradable paper to go boxes instead of styrofoam. Imagine your customers using re-usable promo products with your brand on them for these purposes! Good for you, good for the environment!