The European Commission has the ambition to make the EU 'climate neutral' by 2050 or sooner. Part of this ambition is to tackle the problem of marine litter (plastic soup) in the form of disposed plastics and fishing gear.
The EU has adopted a new directive (EU) 2019/904 (link), which entered into force on 2 July 2019. The Directive bans 10 single-use plastic products (hereafter: 'SUP') most often found on European beaches, as well as abandoned fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics. The Directive sets recycling targets and extends the responsibilities for producers. In this Compliance Clip we will explain what you have to take into account if you have those plastic products in your assortment and by which date this becomes mandatory.
Copyright of image: Luxembourg, European Union, Publications Office of the European Union, 2018
Article 3 of the SUP Directive defines the terms as follows:
The summary of the measures that the European Commission has taken are:
1. Consumption reduction (article 4)
Member States (MS) are instructed to take the necessary measures to achieve a measurable quantitative reduction in the use of those products by 2026 in comparison to 2022. By 3 July 2021, the MS shall prepare a description of the measures which they have adopted. This applies to the following single use (disposable) plastic products:
2. Ban of certain SUPs (article 5)
The SUP Directive instructs MS to ban certain SUPs from the market at the latest on 3 July 2021. These single use (disposable) plastic products are:
3. Product requirements (article 6)
MS are required to ensure that beverage bottles which contain polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as their main component, must contain a minimum of 25% recycled plastic by 2025 and by 2030 this percentage must be 30%. Furthermore, the following SUP must have caps and lids made of plastic that remain attached to the containers during the products' intended use:
Beverage containers with a capacity of up to 3 litres, i.e. receptacles used to contain liquid, such as beverage bottles including their caps and lids and composite beverage packaging including their caps and lids, but not:
(a) glass or metal beverage containers that have caps and lids made from plastic,
(b) beverage containers intended and used for food for special medical purposes.
4. Marking requirements (article 7)
The following products must bear a marking on its packaging or on the product itself informing users of the appropriate waste management options or disposal means that should be avoided and of the presence of plastics in the products and the resulting negative impact of littering or tether inappropriate disposal of the products:
By 3 July 2020, the European Commission shall adopt an implementing act establishing harmonised specifications.
5. Extended producer responsibility (article 8)
The intention of extended producer responsibility (EPR) is to shift the financial burden for the clean-up and recycling of plastic littered items from the tax payer and private bodies to producers of the following SUP products:
These SUP producers must cover the costs of awareness-raising measures: costs of waste collection for those products that are discarded in public collection systems (including the infrastructure and its operation, and the subsequent transport and treatment of that waste) and the costs of cleaning up litter resulting from those products and the subsequent transport and treatment of that litter.
As mentioned the Directive regulates the use of plastics in fishing gear. Through EPR, it is the objective to set op schemes for fishing gear. The schemes shall cover the costs of the separate collection of waste fishing gear (by 31 December 2024). Furthermore, Members States are instructed to set a national collection target and monitor fishing gear collection in view to a later EU-wide collection target. The European Commission has requested the European Standardisation organisations to draft harmonised standards for the circular design of fishing gear.
6. Separate collection (article 9)
The SUP Directive sets targets for the Member States to achieve by:
2025: separate collection for recycling of waste beverage bottles with a capacity of up to 3 litres by 77%;
2029: separate collection for recycling of waste beverage bottles with a capacity of up to 3 litres by 90%.
As noted above the European Commission must, no later than 3 October 2019, request the standardisation organisations to start developing harmonised standards to allow manufacturers to have standards to comply with and have an assumption of conformity.
As soon as the standards become available, ProductIP users will see these standards within their account.