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German govt approves ban on disposable plastic products

German govt approves ban on disposable plastic products

The German government has passed a regulation to ban disposable plastic products, the Ministry for the Environment (BMU) announced. Products including cutlery, plates, drinking straws made of plastic as well as drinking cups, fast food packaging and disposable food containers made of styrofoam would no longer be allowed, Xinhua news agency reported.

The ban would "soon lead to better, innovative and environmentally friendly products and solutions" Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said on Wednesday. "Because we need to get away from the throw-away mentality."

The regulation also banned conventional disposable plastic products made from fossil raw materials such as crude oil, according to the German government. Disposable plates or cups made of bio-based or biodegradable plastics were also banned.

For Germany, the ban would be an important step "in the fight against the flood of plastic", stressed Schulze. "Far too often, plastics end up in the environment or the seas."

According to the German Association of Local Utilities (VKU), the affected products accounted for around 10 per cent of waste that was collected from streets and rubbish bins of local authorities. Beverage and food containers as well as drinking cups made of styrofoam were the most common types of waste.

The new regulation transposes an EU directive into German law. From July 2021, the production of disposable plastic will be banned throughout the EU.

The ban on disposable plastic products in Germany still requires formal approval of both Houses of Parliament..