Having as purpose the reduced use and pollution derived from certain plastic products on the environment, the EU 904/2019 Directive, more commonly known as the Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive or SUPD, requires EU member states to adopt a series of legislative measures to comply with Directive regulations. The deadline for the enforcement of this legislative framework is until July 3rd, 2021.
We remind you that the Directive notably sets EU wide bans on certain SUP (e.g. plates and cutlery, straws and stirrers, cotton buds, cups and food containers in expanded polystyrene) and also requires EU countries to:
- Reduce the consumption of single-use plastic cups and food containers in their country, by putting in place specific bans or quantitative reduction targets;
- Establish Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes for some packaging (e.g. wrappers and packets, bags) as well as for wipes, balloons and tobacco products, so as to ensure producers cover the cost of collection, treatment, awareness raising and clean up;
- Achieve 90% separate collection of single-use plastic bottles by 2029;
- Establish new markings on cups and other products, to indicate the presence of plastics, the appropriate means of disposal and the impacts on the environment when not properly disposed of.
Up until this point, in BFG monthly newsletters, we’ve kept you up-to-date with news from EU countries, as well as other state entities, such as the United Kingdom or Serbia, regarding these legislative initiations.
Although in many countries the transposition process has not started and/or little information is available on the expected transposition process, several other countries have started to transpose the wide bans set in the Directive.
While there is still a long way to go, there are a few countries leading the way.
France – closest to full transposition of SUP Directive
The French have adopted a law that sets into motion the measures of the SUP Directive and goes forward even – the law also bans plastic confetti, lids for cups, and packaging for fruits and vegetables (with some exceptions) in addition to the bans included in the SUP Directive.
The French Law on the Circular Economy, adopted in February 2020, also foresees that all food-ware used for daily home meal deliveries and on-site consumption in hotels, restaurants and cafes will have to be reusable by 2022 and 2023 respectively. It also includes an objective to halve the consumption of plastic bottles by 2030, and to phase-out all single-use plastics packaging by 2040.
Countries following in the French footsteps
The waste management law is currently being revised in Austria and includes articles aiming at transposing the SUP Directive. Yet many of the details are still to be set, as well as the level of targets. The focus of the discussions has been on the establishment of a Deposit Return System (DRS) for single-use plastic bottles. The Austrian government is expected to reach a final decision on whether to set a DRS by the end of 2020.
In Belgium, authorities are in the process of adopting a draft law to transpose the EU bans of certain plastic products as required in the SUP Directive. Yet this draft law does not seem to include other measures of the Directive, such as reduction targets.
The Danish government has initiated the transposition process, and is following the transposition in a timely manner. Denmark, which has had a Deposit Return System (DRS) for plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans for water, soft drinks and beers for decades, expanded the scheme on the 1st of January 2020 to include juice and other beverage containers.
Germany is in the process of adopting a law that transposes EU bans of certain SUP as required by the SUP Directive. A Deposit Return System for most single-use plastic bottles, as well as cans, has been in place since 2003. However, many of the measures of the SUP Directive are yet to be adopted, and the level of ambition remains rather low.
Only a few days after the draft law foreseeing SUP bans became public, the Hungarian government withdrew it. Later, a second draft of a legislative proposal transposing the bans on certain single-use plastics was adopted by the Parliament – though some comment not quite as ambitious as the first. A DRS may be tested from July 2021 for single-use plastics and glass bottles and cans.
Discussions and consultations have started on the transposition of the SUP Directive, and the government is expected to publish its draft waste and circular economy action plan in the coming weeks. The government has committed to put in place a DRS for plastic bottles and cans and will adopt legislation authorizing its establishment by mid 2021, as well as to set a levy on single-use coffee cups with an objective to eventually eliminate these.
Draft legislation was proposed to transpose the SUP Directive and includes the objective to reach 90% separate collection of bottles already by 2022. However, the draft legislation currently falls short of setting consumption reduction targets for single use plastic cups and containers, and of proposing measures to increase the use of reuse solutions. The Netherlands has recently extended their DRS on single-use plastic bottles to cover also smaller bottles.
The Portuguese government has initiated the consultations on the transposition of the SUP Directive and has set the process in motion, but most measures have not yet been adopted. Portugal will implement a DRS for plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans from January 2022.
The draft of a new law on waste foresees the transposition of the SUP Directive. The draft includes positive elements, e.g. reduction targets, but falls short of ambition on many issues including DRS, that is still not foreseen in Spain. The draft law remains to be adopted and its ambition should be increased, in line with the recommendations provided by the NGOs. A few Spanish regions (Balearic Islands and Navarra) have already adopted comprehensive sets of measures on single-use plastics, including further bans, which are not even considered in the draft Spanish law.
Countries still considering the best legislative variants
An impact assessment commissioned by the Estonian government should be finalized (and made public) in the coming weeks, which will provide more insight on upcoming developments. The government is then expected to start drafting measures. A DRS for single-use plastic bottles has been in place in Estonia since 2005.
Although the Greek government has announced measures, the draft legislation has not been made public. From the information the movement has, some developments seem promising, such as the setting of reduction targets for single use plastic cups and bottles, and the application of measures in the public sector already from January 2021. Yet legal measures are still to be adopted, and the details and level of ambition remain uncertain.
The legislative process to transpose the SUP Directive has only just started, with limited ambition in the draft measures. It’s therefore too early stages in the legislative process to properly assess and validate its content. Italy has had a ban on plastics bags, except for biodegradable and compostable bags, since 2013 and on cotton buds made of plastic since 2019. Italy also plans to introduce a plastic tax in January 2021.
The government proposed a draft legislation that transposes the SUP Directive, with no higher ambition than the legal requirements of the Directive. The draft law has been stalled in the Parliament process for adoption. Lithuania set up a DRS for single use plastic bottles in 2016.
While some discussions have been initiated on the EU bans of certain single-use plastics and on DRS, the Slovenian government has largely delayed the adoption of measures.
The remainder of EU countries have not announced any measures up until this point
Read more about the SUP Directive: https://www.bfgpackaging.com/eu-directive-904-bans-single-use-plastics-as-of-2021-but-there-are-alternatives/
Read more about sustainable and eco-friendly packaging from BFG: https://www.bfgpackaging.com/sustainable-and-eco-friendly-packaging-solutions-from-bfg/