Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech government has approved a bill designed to significantly reduce the use of plastic items.
The law, presented by Czech Environment Minister Richard Brabec and discussed on Monday by MPs from the lower house of Parliament, should come into force in July and put the Czech Republic in line with a 2019 EU directive.
The EU-wide regulation allegedly addresses 70% of all marine litter found on Europe’s beaches, and came amid growing awareness of the threat posed by plastic waste and pollution on biodiversity, wildlife and entire ecosystems.
The new measure approved by the Czech government would mainly ban single-use plastic items, such as straws, plates, cutlery and polystyrene cups, and impose new duties on plastic manufacturers.
According to the Ministry of Environment, approximately 1.8 billion of these disposable plastic products are consumed every year in the Czech Republic.
A few years ago, local authorities already took action to forbid supermarkets, retailers and other stores from handing out plastic bags to their customers for free. Previous studies had found that Czech citizens used, on average, 300 plastic bags per year.
Last year, the EU also introduced a new rule banning the exports of unsorted plastic waste to less industrialized nations.