Legislative Post

Katy Rivera

EU Bans Single-Use Plastic by 2021

There have been many actions taken against Plastic from big companies to countries. Starbucks has taken action over the past years by trying to limit the amount of straws they use and distribute. “Instead of getting sucked up through a straw, their cold drinks will be served in containers with special plastic lids” (Howard, Gibbens, Zachos & parker, 2018). however, Starbucks did receive pushback because the lids are still plastic. Their main purpose was to use lids so that straws would not get stuck in turtles’ noses but can still be ingested by larger animals. Disney is another big company who moved to cut plastic use in rooms by 80%. All straws were replaced with paper straws so that they would degrade much faster than plastic. Hawaii approved a ban and prohibiting any kind of bag containing less than 40 % of recycled material. “Bans in Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties took effect between 2011 and 2013, with Honolulu becoming the last major county to approve the ban in 2015” (NCSL, n.d.). In Ireland, there was a 15 cent tax imposed on each plastic bag. Most customers preferred to instead take in reusable shopping bags for their shopping trips. The outcome was that there was approximately a 90% reduction in plastic bags therefore, other options were considered. at. For those who did purchase bags, the money collected was used for environmental projects. 

In south Africa the use of plastic bags is taken very seriously. The use of thin bags is banned, and the penalty can be severe as up to 10 years in prison and a fine of 13k for using the product. The use of thin bags is rarely used in South Africa and instead use thicker bags. The problem with using thicker bags is that it is still plastic. The result has led to many job losses for those who depended on an income from making thin bags. Some individuals are paying more for the thicker bags but making less since people cannot afford to purchase expensive bags. (Tear Fund Learn, n.d.). Seattle banned retail stores from handing plastic bags in 2012. The bags allowed to be handed out had to be 40% or more recycled. “As of July 1, 2018, the city has officially banned all food service business from offering plastic straws and utensils” (Earthday, n.d.). There is a fine for those businesses who don’t comply with the ban, but cities are a lot more concerned with making sure businesses understand the meaning behind it and helping them rather than directing particular consequences. 

The Ocean cleanup, a Dutch non-profit organization developed a device in 2014 with new technology that allowed it to capture plastic from oceans. In 2018, The research and trial failed and soon after they removed their prototypes from the waters. “Wilson reached the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on October 3. Seven weeks later, The Ocean Cleanup released a blog hat stated they were having trouble retaining plastic in the device’s arms, and in December an 18-meter (59-foot) end section of the device broke off into the water” (Rachel Meyer, 2019)  They received backlash because it took 7 years of work and 1.5 billion dollars for this not to work. 

References

A running list of action on plastic pollution. (2019, June 10). Environment. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/07/ocean-plastic-pollution-solutions/

Action against plastic bags. (n.d.). Tearfund Learn. Retrieved October 22, 2020, from https://learn.tearfund.org/en/resources/publications/footsteps/footsteps_51-60/footsteps_59/action_against_plastic_bags/

Global Efforts to Curb Single-Use Plastics. (n.d.). Earth Day. Retrieved October 22, 2020, from https://www.earthday.org/global-efforts-to-curb-single-use-plastics/

State Plastic and Paper Bag Legislation. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2020, from https://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/plastic-bag-legislation.aspx

The Ocean Cleanup successfully collects ocean plastic, aims to scale design. (2019, October 28). Mongabay Environmental News. https://news.mongabay.com/2019/10/the-ocean-cleanup-successfully-collects-ocean-plastic-aims-to-scale-design/

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