In a press release published on March 27, 2019, the European Parliament (EP) announced their approval of a new Directive (FPF reported) that will ban many single use plastic items in the EU by 2021. Specifically, the following products will no longer be permitted: single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks), single-use plastic plates, plastic straws, cotton bud sticks made of plastic, plastic balloon sticks, oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups.

Further, the legislation will require EU Member States “to achieve a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25% of recycled content by 2025 and 30% by 2030.” It also “strengthens the application of the polluter pays principle, in particular for tobacco, by introducing extended responsibility for producers” and sets “that labelling on the negative environmental impact of throwing cigarettes with plastic filters in the street should be mandatory, as well as for other products such as plastic cups, wet wipes and sanitary napkins.”

Following this approval, the next steps are for the Council of Ministers to formally adopt the legislation and then for it to be published in the Official Journal of the Union. Following this publication, EU Member States will then have two years to transpose the Directive into each of their national laws. Key steps in the legislative process as well as relevant documents are published on the website of the EP’s Legislative Observatory.

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EP (March 27, 2019). “Parliament seals ban on throwaway plastics by 2021.”

European Commission (March 27, 2019). “Circular Economy: Commission welcomes European Parliament adoption of new rules on single–use plastics to reduce marine litter.”

EP Legislative Observatory (March 28, 2019). “2018/0172(COD) Reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.”

Keith Nuthall (March 28, 2019). “MEPs back text of new EU single use plastics law.” Plastics News Europe

Jenny Eagle (March 28, 2019). “EU PET bottle collection target ‘too ambitious’.” Beverage Daily

Martin Banks (March 28, 2019). “MEPs praise new single-use plastics rules to tackle marine litter.The Parliament Magazine

Emma Stoye (April 2, 2019). “Europe to introduce ban on single-use plastics in 2021.” Chemistry World