On 27 March 2019, the European Parliament adopted new rules on single-use plastics to reduce marine litter by approving the proposal for a Directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment (Single-Use Plastics Directive). After this European Parliament’s approval the Council of Ministers shall complete the formal acceptance which will be followed by publishing the Directive’s official wording in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The Directive is being accepted due to continuous increase of plastic waste and it’s leakage into the environment (especially marine environment). The goal of this Directive is to prevent and restrict the impact of some plastic products on environment and human health and to support the transfer to a circular economy using innovative business models, products and materials and be conducive to effective functioning internal market.
The Directive applies to single use plastic products, products made of oxo-degradable plastic and fishing gear which includes plastic. This Directive specify the single use plastic products as products which are completely or partially made of plastic and they are not created, designed or put on the market to go through several cycles during their use-life by returning to the producer to be refilled or reused for the same purpose they were created. This targets especially cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, sticks for balloons, as well as plastic cups, food containers made of expanded polystyrene and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic
The Directive introduces following objectives and measures:
- a ban on selected single-use products for which alternatives exist on the market: cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, sticks for balloons, as well as plastic cups, food containers made of expanded polystyrene and on all products made of oxo-degradable plastic;
- measures to reduce consumption of food containers and beverage cups made of plastic and specific marking and labelling of certain products, which are for example: sanitary napkins, tampons, tampon applicators, wet tissues and tobacco products with filters;
- Extended Producer Responsibility schemes covering the cost to clean-up litter, applied to products such as tobacco filters and fishing gear;
- a 90% separate collection target for plastic bottles by 2029 (77% by 2025) and the introduction of design requirements to connect caps to bottles, as well as target to incorporate 25% of recycled plastic in PET bottles as from 2025 and 30% in all plastic bottles as from 2030.
Member States will have to ensure that e.g. sanitary napkins, tampons, tampon applicators, wet tissues and tobacco products with filters, filters made for using in combination with tobacco products and beverage cups are properly labelled. It should be a visible, clearly legible and indelible marking that informs the customer about appropriate options of disposal of products waste, content of plastic in the products and adverse impacts on environment due to inappropriate forms of disposal of products waste.
Sanctions for infringements of the national provisions adopted pursuant to the new Directive has to be set by the Member States, however we can expect as usual the acceptance of fines and restricting the placing on the market.
Transposition period for Member States to adopt national provisions in accordance with the new Directive will be two years since publishing in the Official Journal of the European Union
The adoption of the new Directive follows the adoption of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29. April 2015 amending Directive 94/62/EC as regards reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags, which is part of so called EU Plastics Strategy which aims to protect the environment from plastic pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation, turning a challenge into a positive agenda for the Future of Europe.
Mgr. Jakub Málek, partner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kateřina Roučková, legal assistant – email@example.com
05. 04. 2019
 More information here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-5_en.htm.