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Germany has banned the sale of single-use plastic items, following the European Union directive from 2019 to ban all single-use plastics by 2021. Items to be removed include plastic cutlery, straws, food containers, balloon holders, and cotton buds.

Germany’s Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said the move was part of an effort to end “throw-away culture” as up to 20% of garbage collected in parks and other public places consists of single-use plastic, mainly polystyrene containers. Germany’s single-use plastics ban will officially go into effect on July 3, 2021.

Plastic can take decades to degrade and break into microplastics which have been found inside the bodies of marine life, birds, and other animals including humans.

Several governments around the world have taken action to reduce single-use plastics as plastic waste from masks, gloves, food containers, and plastic shopping bags has surged amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japan has introduced a mandatory fee on single-use plastic shopping bags. Single-use plastic bags have been banned in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. Queensland, a state of Australia, will ban plastic straws, cutlery, stirrers, and plates. Costa Rica aims to eliminate all single-use plastic by 2021. And Wales will consider banning single-use plastic items as part of their mission to achieve zero waste by 2050.

Read more recent news about plastic waste, including birds ingesting plastic wastesquirrels building nests with plastic, and the excess of plastic waste caused by the coronavirus.

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