European Union: Ban on Single-Use Plastics Takes Effect

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European Union: Ban on Single-Use Plastics Takes Effect

Jul. 02, 2021

On July 2, 2021, the Directive on Single-Use Plastics took effect in the European Union (EU). The directive bans certain single-use plastics for which alternatives are available. A "single-use plastic product" is defined as a product that is made wholly or partly from plastic and that is not conceived, designed, or placed on the market to be used multiple times for the same purpose. The European Commission has published guidelines, including examples, of what is to be considered a single-use plastic product. (Directive art. 12.)

For other single-use plastic items, EU member states must limit their use through national consumption reduction measures, a separate recycling target for plastic bottles, design requirements for plastic bottles, and compulsory labels for plastic products to inform consumers. In addition, the directive extends producer responsibility, meaning producers will have to cover the costs of waste-management cleanup, data gathering, and awareness raising for certain products. EU member states must implement the measures by July 3, 2021, with the exception of the product-design requirements for bottles, which will apply from July 3, 2024. (Art. 17.)

The directive implements the EU’s plastic strategy and aims to “promote the [EU’s] transition to a circular economy.” (Art. 1.)

The directive requires that EU member states incentivize responsible consumer behavior and inform consumers of reusable alternatives, as well as of the impacts of littering and other inappropriate waste disposal on the environment and the sewer network. (Art. 10.)

 

European Union: Ban on Single-Use Plastics Takes Effect

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