The EU is considering a Europe-wide ban on plastic products.
The initiative could see the EU banning everything from plastic cutlery and straws to drink stirrers and cotton buds to reduce single-use litter.
The action has been spurred by China’s decision to no longer import some of Europe’s waste.
The move, which follows similar attempts to reduce the harmful impact of plastics in Britain, is part of a global effort to reduce litter spoiling beaches and ocean beds.
The European Commission said its proposal targets the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas.
It wants to cut marine litter for those items – which amount to 70 percent of the rubbish found in the continent’s waters and beaches – and shave £188bn off the bill for environmental damage over the next 12 years.
Under the new rules, single-use plastic products will be banned if alternatives are available and affordable.
“Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem,” said EU vice president, Frans Timmermans.
“Today’s proposals will reduce single-use plastics on our supermarket shelves through a range of measures.
“We will ban some of these items, and substitute them with cleaner alternatives so people can still use their favourite products.”
Michael Gove, the environment secretary, has floated the idea of banning plastic straws and cotton buds in the UK, however the government has only announced a consultation, rather than draft legislation, on the issue.
The proposal will be assessed by the EU Parliament and member states but Mr Timmermans hopes to see the plan implemented within 12 months.