Today the European Council and European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the new plastics directive.
Please see the attached press release.
If this agreement is confirmed by EU ambassadors of member states (which is expected soon), the directive can be submitted for approval to the European Parliament and then back to the Council for final adoption. At this point Member States will be required to introduce initiatives to comply with the directive within 2 years.
Most of the original proposal appears to have been agreed to. This includes a ban on light polystyrene food containers that the European Parliament voted on in October. Here is a short summary:
- Plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks), plates, straws
- Food containers made of expanded polystyrene, such as fast food boxes, with or without a cover, used to contain food that is intended for immediate consumption either on-the-spot or take-away, and that is ready to be consumed without any further preparation, like cooking, boiling or heating
- Beverage containers, and cups for beverages made of expanded polystyrene
- Products made from oxo-degradable plastic – materials with additives that promote oxidation that produces micro-fragments under aerobic conditions
- Cotton bud sticks made of plastic
- Target for at least 25% of recycled plastic in PET beverage bottles from 2025 – In 2030 30% of recycled content all plastic bottles.
- Wet wipes, i.e. pre-wetted personal care and domestic wipes, must have marking on their packaging to clearly indicate the contents of plastic and effects on the environment if not disposed of in a bin.
- Producers of tobacco filters which contain plastic will be subject to an extended producer responsibility scheme.
- EU countries will also have to cut the use of plastic food containers and cups — but there is no EU-wide target.
- A 90% collection target for plastic bottles has been delayed by 4 years from 2025 to 2029. There is now a 77% midway benchmark for 2025 instead.
- An obligation to ensure that plastic caps remain attached to containers was also pushed back from 2021 to 2024.
We will continue to follow the progress of the directive.