They are among the top ten most frequently found items polluting European beaches.
Now the European Council is introducing new restrictions on certain single-use plastic products.
Under the new rules, single-use plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks and cotton buds will be banned by 2021.
The ban covers throwaway plastic products for which alternatives exist and is aimed at reducing the amount of plastic waste we create.
And trust us, those figures make for scary reading: plastic production is 20 times higher now than in the 1960s and is set to quadruple again by 2050.
Reducing the amount of plastics in our oceans and on our beaches is vital to protect marine life and also to ensure that fish, and as a result the food chain, are not further contaminated.
“Ireland has led the way on the fight against plastic when it introduced the levy on plastic bags in 2002, resulting in a 90% drop in the use of plastic bags in Ireland.” said Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune.
“It is great to see that these measures to help reduce the impact of single use plastic are being implemented by the Council.”