The European Union wants to target marine litter by banning plastic products like cotton buds, straws, stirs and balloon sticks. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

EU proposes to ban plastic straws, stirs, and cotton buds

BRUSSELS — The European Union is proposing bans on plastic products like cotton buds, straws, stirs and balloon sticks when alternatives are easily available in an attempt to cut marine litter.

The European Commission said its proposal would seek to cut marine litter in half for the ten most prominent items and avoid environmental damage estimated at over $250 billion over the next dozen years.

EU Vice-President Frans Timmermans said that utensils would not be banned completely, but steps would be taken to have them made out of sustainable materials when possible.

The proposal will now be assessed by the EU parliament and member states but Timmermans hopes to see results before May 2019.

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