12 Jul 2021

Harmonised implementation of the SUPD: key to preserve the Single Market

Since its introduction in May 2018, the Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD) has put the production and use of single use items in a different perspective, accelerating the development of circular processes in the packaging industry. Member States have worked on the transposition of the SUPD to implement measures into their respective national legal frameworks, as the deadline for transposition was 3rd July 2021.  

Throughout this process, EUROPEN has been actively advocating for a harmonised implementation of the SUP Directive to preserve the integrity of the EU Single Market, a necessity to foster a circular economy and innovation. Fear for Single Market fragmentation has been looming over the Directive as certain Member States have adopted, or are considering adopting, national policy measures which go beyond the Directive’s requirements. The delayed publication of the Guidelines on Single-Use Plastic Products at the end of May has exacerbated these worries as it left little to no time to Member States to take these guidelines into consideration ahead of the transposition deadline.  

The European Commission is still expected to publish several supporting acts for the implementation of the SUPD, such as the guidelines on determining the litter clean-up costs to be covered by producers and the methodology for calculating and verifying plastic reductions. Although these guidelines and implementing acts are intended to ensure a harmonised implementation of the SUPD, the Commission has announced delays in their adoption as increasing workload slowed down the progress on these files. This has direct repercussions on the SUPD transposition as it results in a lack of clear blueprint for Member States, which is in turn leading to diverging measures and increased risk of gold-plating by national authorities. 


  • 31 May 2021: The European Commission has published guidelines on Single-Use Plastic Products in accordance with the SUPD last month. These guidelines aim to ensure a harmonised implementation by providing national authorities with technical and legal clarifications on the scope of the products covered in the SUP Directive.  
  • 3 July 2021: Deadline for EU Member States to transpose the SUP Directive into their respective national legal frameworks. 


  • Q2/Q3 2021: The Implementing Act for harmonised calculation & verification methodology of consumption reduction trend, initially expected to be adopted in the first half of this year, is delayed to the end of the 2021. 
  • DELAYED: Although initially expected in July 2020, the adoption of the Implementing Act for harmonised calculation and verification methodology of separate collection targets has been delayed. It is yet to be confirmed when the adoption will proceed. 
  • DELAYED: Publication of Guidelines on litter clean-up costs criteria. 
  • 1 January 2022: Expected Implementing Act(s) setting rules for calculating and verifying achievement of recycled content targets (Article 6). 


Stay tuned for more updates on the SUPD! 

EUROPEN members: Do not hesitate to visit the dedicated members’ area of our website here to know more about our work to support a harmonised implementation of the SUP Directive across the EU and preserve the Single Market.