Prague, Czech Republic – Czech lawmakers have approved a ban on the production and sale of single-use plastic items, including straws, plates, and cutlery, in line with European Union regulations.
A similar proposal to outlaw disposable plastic items was introduced last year by the government of former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, but MPs did not have enough time to vote on the legislation before the end of their term in office.
In line with the EU’s Directive on single-use plastics, which addresses 10 specific items, member states were supposed to implement the ban at the domestic level before July 2021.
The measure – which also applies to products such as cotton buds, drink cups, food boxes or balloon sticks – will reduce the consumption of such items by about 1.77 billion units per year, according to an estimate by the Czech Ministry of the Environment.
“The items we are banning already have a number of alternatives today,” said Environment Minister Anna Hubáčková, “and thanks to this we can save millions of pieces of plastic products every year.”
The law also specifies new rules that will apply to other plastic items still in use – such as tampons and wipes, or tobacco products with filters – including the obligation for manufacturers to tell consumers how to properly dispose of them and inform them about reusable alternatives.