The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday for an EU-wide ban on single-use plastics such as straws, cutlery, cotton buds and balloon sticks. The European Commission, the 28-nation EU's executive arm, proposed banning such items that it said account for 70% of the waste in the oceans and beaches. "Today we are one step closer to eliminating the most problematic single-use plastic products in Europe," the EU's environment commissioner Karmenu Vella said. The European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, voted for the ban on single-use plastic by 571 votes for, 53 against and 34 abstentions. The legislation which supporters want to take effect by 2021 must still be approved in negotiations involving the member states, parliament and the commission. The WWF said the vote put "the EU on track as a global leader in reducing plastic pollution and pioneering stronger circular economies". However, it said the parliament missed an opportunity to close a legal loophole on the defi...

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