The German Cabinet agreed on Wednesday to end the sale of single-use plastic straws, cotton buds and food containers from July next year, bringing it in line with a European Union directive intended to reduce the amount of plastic waste.
The move means the sale of single-use cutlery, plates, stirring sticks and balloon holders, as well as polystyrene cups and boxes, will be banned from July 3, 2021.
Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said the decision was part of an effort to move away from a "throw-away culture." Indeed, up to 20% of trash collected in parks and other public spaces in Germany consists of single-use plastic, primarily polystyrene containers.
DocFilm - Germany’s Problem with Plastic
"Many single-use plastic products are superfluous and non-sustainable use of resources," Schulze said.
Germany amassed a record 18.7 million tons of packaging waste in 2017, according to data published by the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA).
Plastic takes decades to degrade and microscopic particles have been found inside fish, birds, and other animals.