1. Too much plastic is being thrown away. Why is there not a ban on this?

That’s right, many single-use plastic products are unnecessary and do not constitute a sustainable use of resources. That is why plastic items that very often end up in the environment are being banned across the EU.

In Germany, the ban will come into effect from next summer. From then on, the sale of disposable plastic products for which good alternatives exist - such as disposable cutlery and plates, straws, stirrers, cotton buds made of plastic as well as polystyrene takeaway food packaging and beverage containers, among many other items - will no longer be permitted to be sold.

2. What is the EU doing in general to help reduce waste?

With its Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), the European Commission is striving to decouple economic growth in the EU from the use of resources.

To achieve this, the CEAP contains measures to strengthen resource efficiency and the circular economy in Europe, with a strong focus on product policy and waste prevention. These include, for example, more sustainable products with longer life spans and a more efficient use of raw materials.

The European Commission is continuing to place greater focus on waste prevention, something it started with the revised Waste Framework Directive.

During Germany's Presidency of the Council of the EU, we are striving for a strong political commitment within the Council conclusions of the EU environment ministers toward a low-waste, resource-efficient and low-emission economy.

3. Why are we not using the pandemic to step up climate action measures?

Health protection is paramount. The pandemic is not over yet, the number of new cases is increasing worldwide.

Shutting down the economy is not good climate policy. Climate policy has to a) be designed for the long term and b) improve quality of life for people.

What is important is that we use the way out of the crisis as an opportunity to make our economy and society fit for the future and lay the right foundations for becoming climate neutral by 2050.

The EU environment ministers are advocating that the EU Multiannual Financial Framework (for the coming 7 years) and the EU recovery instrument substantially contribute to the environment and climate goals of the EU.