The European Union has proposed a ban on many single-use plastics such as straws, cutlery and cotton buds, to come in force by 2025.
There would also be a move to force EU member states to collect 90% of the plastic bottles used for drinks, potentially through deposit refund schemes.
The proposals are part of a drive in Brussels to tackle pollution from plastic waste, which is now showing up in the food chain.
Tiny particles of microplastic have even been detected at Point Nemo in the Southern Ocean, which is nearly 1,700 miles from the nearest inhabited land.
It follows a similar move in Westminster, as single-use plastics are set to be virtually eliminated in Parliament by the end of next year.
Earlier this year, 120 MPs took a #PassOnPlastic pledge with Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign, promising to reduce their use of items such as straws and disposable cutlery.
“Plastic waste is undeniably a big issue and Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem,” the EU’s First Vice President, Frans Timmermans, said.
“Today’s proposals will reduce single-use plastics on our supermarket shelves through a range of measures,” he added.
The European Commission’s proposals would see single-use plastics banned, but do not set a deadline for when this should be achieved.
The plans would also need to be approved by the EU’s 28 member states – before being reduced to 27 when the United Kingdom leaves next year – and be approved by the European Parliament.
In the UK, Environment Secretary Michael Gove has committed to bring in deposits on plastic bottles to encourage recycling and the government is consulting on taxes and charges on other single-use plastic items.
:: Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com