The European Single Use Plastics Directive is due to be adopted in April 2019, and that applies to the UK if it stays in the EU beyond the 29th March. As we write, it seems an extension of Article 50 is the most likely outcome, in which case, the UK would have to transpose the Directive into national law.
The Directive has been mainly designed to prevent plastic waste impacting on the marine environment. Because of their slow decomposition rate, plastics are a particular problem for the world’s oceans. Traces of plastic can be found in species such as whales, turtles, and birds, but also in seafood that ends up in the human food chain and ultimately in the human body.
The key elements of the SUP Directive are:
– the banning of plastic items such as: coffee stirrers, balloon sticks, cutlery, plates, straws and cotton bud sticks. Oxo-degradeable plastics and polystyrene food and drink containers will also be banned, as they tend to break down in smaller components rather than biodegrade.
– targets assigned to all member states aimed limiting the use of other plastic products
– beverage bottles to contain at least 30% recycled content by 2030
– target collection rate of 90% for post-consumer beverage bottles, by 2025
Member states will have 2 years to transpose the Directive into national legislation and it is likely that the UK, whether within or outside the EU, will implement similar measures.
As a result of the post-consumer collection rates target and recycled content requirements, significant investment in PET collection and reprocessing is expected to take place at national level.