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EU reaches agreement on single-use plastic ban

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By Judith Prescott
EU reaches agreement on single-use plastic ban

The EU has provisionally agreed a ban targetting the 10 disposable plastic products that most often wash up on European shores.

The move is part of a wider effort by the bloc to cut plastic waste and re-use resources

The ban includes throw-away plastic items such as straws and polystyrene cups as part of new measures to cut plastic use in a bid to reduce marine litter.

For other plastic items, such as food containers and drinks cups and lids, the focus will be on limiting their use and setting clean-up obligations in some cases for manufacturers.

All plastic bottles will have to have at least 30 percent recycled content by 2030.

Producers of tobacco filters containing plastic will have to cover the costs for public collection of cigarette stubs.

Meadhbh Bolger of the environmental group, Friends of the Earth, Europe, says the ban has been broadly welcomed by environmental groups. But there is some disappointment the measures don't go far enough.

"There is a lack of reduction targets for some single-use plastics. But overall it's a real step forward in tackling plastic pollution," she says.

In a statement, the European Union hailed the agreement as "the world's first comprehensive plastics strategy," saying Europe's businesses and consumers will be "tackling a problem with global implications."