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European Union
EU Single Use Plastic (SUP) Directive

The EU is tackling the 10 single use plastic items most commonly found on Europe's beaches and promoting sustainable alternatives.

EU Single Use Plastic (SUP) Directive


Single use plastic products, or SUPs, are a problem for the environment and our health worldwide as plastic waste and can be very harmful. The ten single use plastic products most commonly found on beaches in Europe, together with fishing gear, account for 70% of all marine litter in the EU.

The EU wants to take a leading role in the global fight against marine litter and plastic pollution. EU rules are therefore in place to help reduce the amount and harmful effects of certain plastic products on the environment.

Background EU Single Use Plastic Directive

Through the EU Single Use Plastic Directive (Directive (EU) 2019/904), different measures are applied to different products. These measures are tailored to achieve the most effective results and also take into account whether more sustainable alternatives are available.

The 10 products affected by the directive are:

  • Cotton buds
  • Cutlery, plates, straws and stirrers
  • Balloons and balloon sticks
  • Containers for food
  • Cups for drinks
  • Containers for drinks
  • Cigarette butts
  • Plastic bags
  • Packets and packaging
  • Wet wipes and hygiene products

When sustainable alternatives are readily available and affordable...

...single use plastic products must not be placed on the market in EU Member States. This applies to: 

  • cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers and sticks for balloons, 
  • cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, and for 
  • all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.

For other single-use plastic products, the EU is focusing on limiting their use.

EU-wide awareness-raising measures for single-use plastics

  • Introduce design requirements, such as requiring caps to be joined to bottles.
  • Introduction of labelling requirements (Directive (EU) 2019/904), in force since 03 July 2021 and applicable to the following products:
    • sanitary towels (pads), tampons and tampon applicators;
    • Wet wipes, i.e. moist wipes for personal hygiene and household use;
    • Tobacco products with filters and filters marketed for use in conjunction with tobacco products;
    • beverage cups
EU Single Use Plastic (SUP) Directive labelling requirements

Specific EU targets include.

  • a target for separate collection of 77% of plastic bottles by 2025, to be increased to 90% by 2029
  • inclusion of 25% recycled plastic in PET beverage bottles from 2025 and 30% in all plastic beverage bottles from 2030.

My Compliance will be happy to advise you on these and other regulations that are anchored at EU level and will/can be extended in the coming years, so that you can be fully informed and prepared. 

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