Disposable plastic plates and cutlery, straws or q-tips are among the products that will no longer be sold in EU member states from July 3, according to a European directive on limiting the environmental impact of plastics.
In the case of the Czech Republic, the EU Directive 2019/904, adopted two years ago by the European Parliament, has not yet been transposed into national legislation.
Which products are banned?
Products to be banned under the regulation include plastic cutlery, plates and straws as well as ear swabs, except for those used in health facilities. Also prohibited are plastic stir sticks and balloon sticks with the exception of those intended for purely industrial use.
The regulation also bans expanded polystyrene food and drink packaging and items made of oxo-degradable plastics.
Labelling and packaging
The regulation also prescribes labelling of certain disposable plastic products and their packaging to inform consumers on how to handle the resulting waste. The items that should be labelled include pads, tampons and applicators, wet wipes, tobacco products with filters, filters marketed in combination with tobacco products, and cups.
The ban will take effect fifteen days after the regulation is published in the Official Gazette.
Non-compliance will be punishable by fines ranging up to EUR 15,000 for legal entities, up to EUR 5,000 for sole proprietors and up to EUR 3,000 for the executive or proprietor in charge.
How is EU’s anti-plastics drive moving ahead?
In 2019, the EU passed the Single-Use Plastics Directive (SUPD) which envisaged progressively banning the use of single-use plastic products to reduce marine pollution and promote a transition to a circular economy. However, performance in implementing the directive has been uneven among member states.
According to a July report by the Rethink Plastic alliance, France, Greece, Ireland, Sweden, Estonia, and Malta are ahead of the pack. These member states have already adopted the measures required to transpose the SUP Directive into national law, and have even given more than is due by introducing additional reduction measures.
At the other end of the scale are Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, which “have barely begun the transposition process or have been delaying it,” Rethink Plastic concludes.