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 are taking a variety of approaches to put the Directive into their national laws.
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 Directive||England||Wales||Scotland||Northern Ireland|
|Ban single-use plastic cutlery, plates, straws & stirrers (including CPLA cutlery & PLA straws)||Proposed in consultation||Proposed in consultation||Yes, from 1 June 2022||Yes from 2022|
|Ban expanded polystyrene food containers & cups||Proposed in consultation||Proposed in consultation||Yes, from 1 June 2022||Yes from 2022|
|Ban all oxo-degradable plastics||No||Proposed in consultation||No||Yes from 2022|
|Turtle graphic on beverage cups containing plastic||No||No||No||Yes from 2022|
A closer look…
ENGLAND is considering how to limit some of the most-littered plastic items, for some possible changes in April 2023.
- Until 12th February 2022, you can respond to a Defra consultation on whether England should ban polystyrene cups and containers, and plastic plates (including bowls and trays), straws and stirrers.
- England is proposing not ban these single-use items if filled at point of sale, except in sit-in situations. So that means it would not affect grab & go food service. This exemption would not apply to polystyrene items.
- Read our blog explaining how English legislation has limited the use of plastic straws and stirrers since 2020.
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 is implementing most of the same bans as the EU Single Use Plastics Directive, from 1st June 2022.
- This means that polystyrene foam cups are containers are banned. Bagasse takeaway boxes and tableware are a great alternative for hot food to go, and we have a wide range of hot cups.
- No more plastic stirrers – but we have some excellent quality wooden stirrers made from sustainably-sourced birch wood.
- Vegware clients in Scotland will need to use our wooden cutlery, not CPLA cutlery.
- Read the Scottish regulations here and these useful FAQs.
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. A consultation is open until 17 December, so if you are in Northern Ireland you can respond to policy proposals for the reduction of the usage of Single-use Plastic beverage cups and food containers.
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!