European Union member countries have until July 2021 at the latest to decide on and implement suitable own legislation to follow the Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD), which bans marine environment harmful plastic containers from circulation.
Some countries have gained noticeable momentum, others are stalling – and the bulk is en-route to a satisfactory conclusion.
In the meantime, 3 country examples of updates on the SUPD legislative requirements are worth analysing – France, Germany and the Netherlands.
France bans XPS containers from January 2021
As seen before, the French government is well ahead of the curve with their response to the EU’s Single Use Plastic Directive. Not only have they had their legislative affairs on order since last year, they have banned some of the items since the beginning of 2020.
However, the remaining items (including the BFG produced XPS containers) are to be banned starting January 2021, so less than a month from now. It remains to be seen if the French government allows for a “grace-period” where they allow for existing stocks to be sold out for a period of time (like they did with the banned items starting January 2020), but the customers in France will be among the first dealing with the transition to replacement products.
Germany approved legislation to already ban certain single use plastic containers
Back in June 2020, the German Cabinet came to an agreement and after months of speculation they confirmed that the German ban on Single Use Plastics would mean the country falls in line with a EU directive to reduce waste. The prohibition will come into effect from July 2021.
On November 6th 2020, Germany’s upper house, the Bundesrat (representing the sixteen Länder of Germany at the federal level), approved legislation to ban certain single use plastic products in Europe’s biggest economy. This clears the way for the adoption of the EU directive halting the sale of certain single use plastic items.
Germany’s day of the ban taking effect is July 3rd, 2021 – which is in line with most European member states.
According to plasteurope.com, “Up to 30,000 t of foamed polystyrene packaging is affected”.
The Netherlands will allow existing stocks to be sold out
The national legislative bodies are working hard to comply with the mandated deadlines in the Netherlands as well. The Netherlands is also committing to implement the Ban on the required items by July 3rd, 2021, however in a letter to the House of Representatives, the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management noted that after this ban, the existing stocks would be allowed to be sold-out after this date.
Also of note is their remark regarding the finer details of the implementation of the Single Use Plastic Directive. All member states are struggling with finalizing legislation or translating it to real-world measurements because the promised “Guidelines”, which were to be published by July 1st 2020, still have not been released.
The Secretary of State notes that this delay on publication will not cause a delay in implementation of the Directive, as there is no juridical room to do so in the transposition requirements. However, they do mention that both on Dutch National level as on European lever they are looking at “reasonable solutions” regarding the enforcement of the rules when looking at the current date of implementation.