Single use plastics are to be banned from 2021 across the European Union.
The ban will cover polystyrene fast food packaging, plastic drinking straws, cotton buds, plastic cutlery and other products where there is an eco-friendly alternative.
The plastic ban received support from politicians in the European Parliament, with MEPs backing the proposals in a 571-53 majority.
The ban is likely to apply to the UK as it looks set to be put on the statute books before the end of the Brexit transition period.
It is hoped legislation supporting the ban will reduce pollution in the world’s oceans, rivers and other waterways.
The new law would also ensure single use plastic bottles are 90% recycled by 2025.
It would also mean that fishing nets, identified as a major pollutant in the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic ocean, will be manufactured in a more environmentally considerate way.
Existing fishing gear currently contributes to more than a quarter of rubbish found on European beaches.
Part of the plastic ban will be an aim to encourage nations collect and responsibly dispose of it, so that by 2025 at least 15% of dumped or lost fishing equipment should be recycled.
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Following the vote, MEPs, the EU Commission and EU member states will enter discussions to create legislation based on the plastic ban proposals.
The legislation’s rapporteur Frederique Ries said: “We have adopted the most ambitious legislation against single use plastics.
“Today’s vote paves the way to a forthcoming and ambitious directive.”
According to the European Parliament, the world’s oceans are a dumping ground for 150 million tonnes of plastic.
This huge amount of waste kills, maims and poisons marine wildlife – or is digested by fish and seafood then eaten by humans.
Plastic waste making its way back into the human food chain has – as of yet – unknown implications for people’s health.