Plastics Directive - what products will the plastic ban cover?

Service Business

The adopted Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the limitation of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment (also known as the Plastics Directive) from 2021 requires restrictions, and in some cases a complete ban on the use (and thus selling) of plastic packaging. Check which products will include the so-called plastic ban.

Plastic Directive - Why Was It Introduced?

The Plastics Directive aims to protect the environment and the purity of waters. Research has shown that single-use plastic products account for around half of all marine litter items found on European beaches. The top 10 single-use plastic products account for 86% of all single-use plastic products.

Quoting the justification for introducing the directive "Plastic residues can be found in many marine species - sea turtles, whales, birds - and in some species of fish or crustaceans and end up in the food chain. In addition to its harmful effects on the environment and potentially on human health, plastic marine litter has a negative impact on activities such as tourism, fishing and shipping.”

A single-use product should be understood as "a product that is wholly or partially made of plastics and which is not intended, designed or placed on the market to achieve multiple rotation within a single life cycle by returning it to the manufacturer with the intention of refilling it. or re-use for the same purpose for which it was originally intended "

End of sales of plastic cups, nets and sticks?

A significant reduction in the use of single-use plastic products will include:

  • food packaging, i.e. containers such as boxes with or without a lid used to contain food intended to be eaten directly from the container in place or to take away without any further processing, fast food packaging - with the exception of beverage packaging plates, packages and wraps containing food;

  • cups for drinks.

The ban on placing single-use plastic products on the market will cover:

  • cotton buds - with the exception of swabs used for medical purposes,

  • cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks),

  • dishes,

  • straws - with the exception of straws used for medical purposes,

  • drink stirrers,

  • balloon sticks, with the exception of balloons for industrial or other professional uses which are not distributed to consumers.

Another obligations for entrepreneurs and producers!

The directive introduces an obligation to inform consumers about available re-use systems and waste management of these products and about best practices in the field of sound waste management, as well as the impact of littering and other inappropriate methods of disposal of these products.

Producers will have such an obligation:

  • food packaging, i.e. containers such as boxes with or without a lid used to contain food to be eaten directly from the container in place, or to take away without any further processing, such as fast food packaging - with the exception of packaging for drinks, plates and packages and wraps containing food;
  • packages and wrappers of flexible materials containing food that is intended to be eaten directly from the packet or wrapper without any further processing;
  • beverage containers, ie, containers used to contain beverages such as bottles including their lids and lids;
  • cups for drinks;
  • tobacco products with filters and filters sold for use in conjunction with tobacco products;
  • wet wipes, ie pre-wet wipes for personal care, household or industrial use;
  • balloons, with the exception of balloons for industrial or other professional uses which are not distributed to consumers;
  • lightweight plastic shopping bags;
  • sanitary napkins and tampons and tampon applicators.

Requirements for the design and labeling of plastic products

Single-use plastic products, such as containers used to contain beverages, will only be marketed if the lids and lids remain firmly attached to the package during the intended use stage of the product. This regulation will apply from 2025.

In addition, products such as:

  • sanitary towels and tampons and tampon applicators;
  • wet wipes, ie pre-wet wipes for personal care, household or industrial use;
  • balloons, with the exception of balloons for industrial or other professional uses which are not distributed to consumers

should bear a visible, clearly legible and indelible marking providing information to consumers on one or more of the following:

  • appropriate options for the disposal of waste products or non-recommended methods for the disposal of such products;
  • the negative effects of littering or other inappropriate methods of disposing of waste products on the environment or
  • the presence of plastics in the product.

Extended producer responsibility - what is it and what products does it cover?

Extended producer responsibility covers producers:

  • food packaging, i.e. containers such as boxes with or without a lid used to contain food to be eaten directly from the container in place, or to take away without any further processing, such as fast food packaging - with the exception of packaging for drinks, plates and packages and wraps containing food;
  • packages and wrappers of flexible materials containing food that is intended to be eaten directly from the packet or wrapper without any further processing;
  • beverage containers, ie, containers used to contain beverages such as beverage bottles including their lids and lids;
  • cups for drinks;
  • tobacco products with filters and filters sold for use in conjunction with tobacco products;
  • wet wipes, ie pre-wet wipes for personal care, household or industrial use;
  • balloons, with the exception of balloons for industrial or other professional uses which are not distributed to consumers;
  • lightweight plastic shopping bags.

The extended liability is to cover the costs of collecting the waste of the above-mentioned products, transporting and processing them, including the costs of cleaning up litter and the costs of awareness-raising measures.

Will the ban on plastic be good for business?

According to the EU legislative bodies This initiative should be seen in the broader context of the transition to a circular economy. It will support innovative solutions for new business models, reusable alternatives and alternative single use products. This systemic shift and replacement will also promote biological alternatives and an innovative bioeconomy, creating new business opportunities and improving consumer convenience..

Member States have 2 years to implement (transpose) the Plastics Directive from its entry into force. In Poland, the ban on plastic will most likely apply from 2021.