UK EU Single Use Plastics Directive compostable bio-based disposables

The UK & the EU Single Use Plastics Directive

The EU Single Use Plastics Directive is making big changes to Europe’s foodservice packaging habits. Its big aim is to reduce marine litter. It includes banning expanded polystyrene, oxo-degradable plastics and banning some plastic items.

EU member states have until July 2021 to decide how to put it into their national laws, and are taking a variety of approaches.

What about the UK? It’s a hot topic, and we’ve had lots of client questions. Here’s our useful guide…

UK – four nations, big variations

The UK is not required to bring this Directive into UK law. But the four nations are taking different approaches, with Northern Ireland required to comply by 2022…

Part of EU DirectiveEnglandWalesScotlandNorthern Ireland
Ban single-use plastic cutlery, plates, straws & stirrersNo ban for cutlery & platesProposed in consultationProposed in consultationYes
Ban expanded polystyrene food containers & cupsNoProposed in consultationProposed in consultationYes
Ban all oxo-degradable plasticsNoProposed in consultationProposed in consultationYes
Turtle graphic on beverage cups containing plasticNoNoNoYes

A closer look…

ENGLAND is not implementing the Directive. However, the UK Government wants to reduce single use plastics using other policies – such as its Waste and Resources Strategy. English legislation has limited the use of plastic straws and stirrers since 2020. Many charities campaign against polystyrene and oxo-degradable plastics. There is no change required to how you use Vegware products.

WALES is likely to opt in to many parts of the Directive. The Welsh Government held a consultation in 2020 proposing to ban nine different single-use plastic items. It will publish its conclusions in 2021 – look out for them here.

SCOTLAND aims to meet or exceed the EU Directive. The Scottish Government held a consultation in early 2021, whose proposals would result in a ban on most takeaway food containers. Read why Vegware believes these proposals go too far and miss an environmental opportunity. Scotland will consult more on this during 2021, so be ready to respond.

NORTHERN IRELAND must bring parts of the Directive into its own laws by 1st January 2022, as part of the Northern Ireland Protocol. This aims to ease the flow of goods across the border with the Republic of Ireland.

You can find links to UK and devolved policies in this House of Commons briefing.

Vegware’s EU-compliant range

Ignore the myth that PLA is being banned – it isn’t. Some member states won’t allow CPLA cutlery or PLA straws from July 2021 – but we have excellent wooden cutlery and paper straws. The rest of our range is fully EU-compliant, ready to help you beat the bans on expanded polystyrene and oxo-degradable plastics.

Got any questions? Contact us today!

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