The EU Single Use Plastics Directive

EU Single Use Plastics Directive Vegware compliant disposables

What is banned after July 2021?

There are big changes coming down the line in the EU. Please note, PLA is not being banned. From July 2021, various material bans come into force for EU member states:

    • Each member state is deciding whether to ban or allow these items made from plant-based and compostable materials. So that means some EU countries such as Italy may still allow Vegware’s compostable products such as CPLA cutlery or PLA straws. 
    • Common in cold cups, cutlery, straws, and carrier bags, and often labelled ‘degradable’ or confusingly sold as ‘biodegradable’.
    • These are conventional plastics with an additive to make it fragment into small flakes, but are not suitable for recycling or composting.
  3. EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE food and drink containers – also known as Styrofoam.
    • Very common material in cups, clamshells, plates and bowls.

When does it come into force?

The plastic material bans come into force in July 2021. Agreed upon in 2019, EU member states have two years to put the legislation into their own national laws. There are different deadlines to achieve various goals.

The UK has signalled it may mirror the EU’s actions, regardless of Brexit. 

What other changes are there?

Extended Producer Responsibility are set to rise for some items. All packaging manufacturers, including Vegware, will pay more towards waste management and raising awareness. This will apply to these items:

  • Lightweight carrier bags
  • Beverage cups
  • Food containers including salad boxes, sandwich wedges & fast-food packaging for fresh or processed food that does not need further preparation.

Why is the EU making these changes?

This new far-reaching EU guidance aimed at reducing plastic marine pollution. It is based on the 10 single-use plastic items and fishing gear which account for 70% of marine litter in Europe.

“The European Strategy for Plastics is a step towards establishing a circular economy in which the design and production of plastics and plastic products fully respect re-use, repair and recycling needs and in which more sustainable materials are developed and promoted.”

Reusables plus Vegware

Environmentalists advise greater reuse, but acknowledge disposables have a place.

“A reusable cup for your beer, but for your falafels, you should probably have Vegware,” according to Richard Dixon, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland.


Many clients now offer a reusable option and use for situations where reusables aren’t practical. With our expert environmental support and ever-growing trade access to composting, Vegware is uniquely placed to help clients achieve their waste ambitions.

Where composting isn’t possible, our plant-based materials perform well in incineration, producing heat but no volatile gases; in landfill PLA remains inert and does not emit methane.

All this information is downloadable as a pdf Factsheet here and on our Downloads page.