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Parliamentary questions
PDF 38kWORD 18k
30 September 2019
Question for written answer E-003029-19
to the Commission
Rule 138
Petra De Sutter (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  Continued existence of dangerous and polluting pull tabs on drinks cans in the EU

Pull tabs on drinks cans were commonly used in the 1960s and 1970s. They were, however, found to be a common form of litter that had a negative impact on the environment. They also posed a threat to animal health because animals swallowed the tabs that ended up in nature. In addition, they posed a threat to human health as some users put the aluminium tab into the can and occasionally swallowed the sharp-edged tab.

In the mid-1970s, the introduction of stay-on tabs mitigated the negative impact that these tabs had on the environment and on human and animal health. While these stay-on tabs have largely replaced pull tabs in the EU, the latter are not entirely banned. Furthermore, the pull tabs are still used in other parts of the world and are imported into the EU. Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste does not explicitly ban pull tabs.

1. To what extent are pull tabs still found in the EU, including those which are produced in or imported into the EU?

2. Can existing legislation be used to ban pull tabs in the EU?

3. If not, can the Commission develop new legislation that explicitly bans the use of pull tabs in the EU?

Last updated: 18 October 2019Legal notice