On 3 July 2021, the EU ban on disposable plastics comes into effect. We are talking straws, cups, cutlery, plates, but also balloon rods. Find out what changes and when.
In December 2018, representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the EU countries jointly agreed upon a directive to combat the ‘plastic soup’.
To reduce plastic litter and the overabundant use of plastic, a number of single-use plastic products (cutlery, stirrers) will be banned.
Other products (cigarette filters, wet wipes) will contain labels stating that plastic is bad for the environment. Manufacturers of other products such as food packaging will have to contribute financially to cleaning up and educate the people.
Member states will have 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.
On 3 July 2024, an additional measure takes effect: loose caps on bottles will no longer be allowed. Caps have to be affixed to the bottle.
The European Commission is planning more measures. For example: from 2025 onwards, 25% of all soda and water bottles must be made from recycled materials. That percentage increases to 30 by 2030.
Lead MEP Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE) said: “This legislation will reduce the environmental damage bill by €22 billion – the estimated cost of plastic pollution in Europe until 2030. Europe now has a legislative model to defend and promote at international level, given the global nature of the issue of marine pollution involving plastics. This is essential for the planet.”
According to the European Commission, more than 80% of marine litter is plastics. The products covered by this new law constitute 70% of all marine litter items. Due to its slow rate of decomposition, plastic accumulates in seas, oceans, and on beaches in the EU and worldwide.
Plastic residue is found in marine species – such as sea turtles, seals, whales, and birds, but also in fish and shellfish, and therefore in the human food chain.