Single Use Plastics Directive

At a glance

The EU’s Plastics Strategy, launched by the European Commission in 2018, aims to transform the way plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled.

With regards to plastic packaging, the EU strategy foresees that by 2030 all plastic packaging should be reusable or recyclable in a cost-effective manner, a goal that was expanded to all packaging materials with the adoption of the European Green Deal and the new Circular Economy Action Plan.

The Directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment (Single-Use Plastics Directive) was adopted in 2019 and is one of the elements of the EU’s Plastics Strategy.

Plastic Packaging and the Single-Use Plastics Directive

The goal of the Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive is to prevent and reduce the impact on the environment of certain plastic products and to promote a transition to a circular economy. In particular, the Directive aims to tackle marine littering and plastic waste through a harmonised legislative framework across the EU.  

It introduces a number of different measures on single-use plastics products, which include market restrictions, consumption reductions, marking requirements, mandatory recycled content and separate collections and clean-up litter costs. Some of these measures apply to single-use plastic packaging, such as certain type of food and beverage containers.  

EUROPEN fully supports the overarching objectives of the SUP Directive of taking bold action against plastic litter and marine litter as well as of raising awareness among EU citizens. At the same time, it is important to ensure the harmonised, consistent and proportionate transposition of the Directive at national level so that the environmental goal can be attained in the most effective way, whilst ensuring that measures adopted in a single member state do not introduce barriers to the free movement of packaging and packaged goods across the EU.  

Our position

EUROPEN supports the objective of the SUP Directive to reduce impact of certain plastic products on the environment, as well as the promotion of circular approaches aimed at reducing waste generation.

Because packaging falls under the scope of the SUP Directive, it is key to ensure coherence among the various EU laws regulating the production and use of packaging as well as the management of packaging waste in the EU.

The interplay between the SUP Directive and the main piece of legislation that governs packaging and packaging waste in the EU, notably the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD), is critical. In particular, the transposition and implementation of the SUP Directive at national level should not jeopardise the principle of free movement of packaging and packaged goods, which is at the core of the PPWD.

Ensuring a harmonised and proportionate implementation of the SUP Directive is essential to avoid market fragmentation. Divergent national measures can concretely undermine the integrity of the Single Market. This in turn has negative impacts not only on the free flow of packaging and packaged goods but also on investments and economies of scale needed to support the circular economy transition.