Single use plastic products being restricted from the Irish Market as of the 3rd of July 2021
- Almost 26 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated in Europe every year
- 80% of marine litter is plastic
- 87% of Europeans are worried about the impact of plastic products in the environment
The European Commission in 2018 set up “A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy”. It was initiated out of the increased popularity of single use plastics in everyday life. While plastic has provided a useful role within the economy, and is essential in many sectors, the transitory use of single use plastic products (SUPs) does not allow for efficient re-use or recycling mechanisms. Consequently, this gives rise to waste and ultimately it is released into the environment, especially the marine environment. The purpose of the European Commission Strategy is to establish a circular economy, so that plastic products design and production fully comply with re-use, repair and recycling needs, and where sustainable materials are developed and promoted.
In 2019, the EU Directive 2019/904 was published and sets out the intention to reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment. EU member states, including Ireland, signed up to this Directive. In Ireland, this Directive was implemented in national law via the European Union (Single Use Plastics) Regulations 2021.
What is the purpose of these Regulations?
The European Union (Single Use Plastics) Regulations 2021 mandate that no person or company is permitted to supply or sell certain single used plastic products onto the Irish market.
The single use plastic products being restricted are:
- Cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks)
- Beverage stirrers
- Sticks that support balloons
- Containers made with expanded polystyrene:
- Containers for fast food or other meal ready for immediate consumption
- Beverage containers
- Cups for beverages including covers and lids
Single-use plastic products are frequently disposed of incorrectly. Therefore, the EU Directive established harmonised marking specifications. Manufacturers must label certain single use plastics to inform consumers of the presence of plastic in the product and waste disposal means to be avoided for that product. The label must contain both official languages of Ireland. The products required to comply with this are:
- Sanitary towels (pads), tampons and tampon applicators
- Wet wipes (pre-wetted, personal care and domestic wipes)
- Tobacco products with filter and filters marketed for use in combination with tobacco products
- Cups for beverages
Exemptions to the Regulations:
Some single use plastics products, which are used for medical or industrial purposes, are exempt from the Regulations, such as:
- Cotton bud sticks that are used for medical purposes – they are clearly labelled for medical use (e.g., medical swab), single tipped, sold as sterile.
- Beverage containers and beverage bottles used for food for special medical purposes that is in liquid form.
- Balloons used for industrial or other professional uses:
- Balloons and the sticks to be attached to support those balloons, which are sold through industrial or professional channels such as business to business.
- Balloons and the sticks to be attached to support those balloons for industrial or professional use or applications, e.g., research, weather balloons, industrial, professional decoration, and that are not distributed to consumers.
Find out more…
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