In an article published on May 16, 2018 by news provider Euractiv, reporter Sam Morgan informed about the European Commission’s (EC) draft proposal for an EU directive on single-use plastics. The official proposal for an EU measure is expected to be published by the EC in May 2018, however a draft was obtained and published in advance by newspaper Politico (FPF reported).

According to the EC’s draft proposal, certain plastic items will be banned (e.g., cotton-bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, beverage stirrers, plastic sticks used for balloons) and other products will be “subject to measures like stricter labelling and design requirements,” Morgan illustrated. Further, ‘extended producer responsibility’ is foreseen by the draft, forcing producers “to cover the costs of collecting certain items” according to the ‘polluter pays’ principle. In addition, 90% of single-use plastic bottles will have to be collected by 2025 and “single-use beverage containers should be designed so that their lids and caps stay attached to the bottle.”

Ariadna Rodrigo of non-governmental organization (NGO) Rethink Plastic Alliance welcomed that different measures will be used for different products. However, some measures lack specific targets which could lead to different interpretation across EU Member States, she warned.

Tatiana Luján of non-profit environmental law organization ClientEarth agreed that responsibility should be shifted to producers but urged the EC not to “leave the door open for throwaway items to be replaced by other materials that come with their own problems, like so-called ‘bioplastics.’”

Industry association Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) was pleased about the collection rate target for plastic bottles but expressed concern regarding bio-degradable single-use plastics. They should not be excluded from upcoming measures unless there is “clarity” about their environmental impact based on “reliable scientific studies.”

Read more

Sam Morgan (May 16, 2018). “EU prepares to say adieu to single-use plastics.Euractiv

Andreas Menn and Kristina Antonia Schafer (May 15, 2018). “Why the Commission’s new plastic ban threatens to fall flat.Euractiv