July 28, 2021

Ban on single-use plastics starts in July

After Portugal transposes a European directive, single-use plastics are banned in early July. The measure has been widely praised, but also criticized for being unambitious.

In practice, this measure, which is mandatory in all Member States, now prohibits the use of cutlery, straws, cotton swabs, stirrers, balloon sticks or styrofoam for food containers.

The pandemic has postponed a number of things. The “law” banning single-use plastics was one of them. The Portuguese government had decided to implement the measure last year, largely anticipating the directive's dates, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to Portugal's postponement.

Ban on single-use plastics starts in July

Deco has drawn up a list of products that will disappear in the coming years.

Products that are expected to disappear as of July 1, 2021

  • cotonetes;
  • cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks) and plates;
  • drinking straws and shakers;
  • sticks for securing balloons;
  • food containers made of expanded polystyrene, that is, containers such as boxes, with or without a lid, used to contain food intended for immediate consumption (on-site or to take away), food typically consumed from the container, and food ready to eat without preparation supplementary, ie without cooking, baking or heating;
  • beverage containers and cups made of expanded polystyrene, including their capsules, covers and lids.
  • drinking cups, including their covers and lids;
  • containers such as boxes, with or without a lid, used to contain food, such as those mentioned above, that are not made of expanded polystyrene.

in 2022

  • Food and beverage spaces are also prohibited from providing and using these products (with the exception of cotton swabs and balloon sticks), but only from September 1, 2022.
  • Beverage containers with a capacity of less than three liters, that is, containers used to contain liquids, such as bottles, and composite beverage containers, which have capsules or lids, can only be placed on the market if the capsules and lids remain attached to the containers during the phase of intended use of the product.

in 2023

  • As of June 1, 2023, commercial establishments are prohibited from providing ultra-lightweight plastic bags for primary packaging or transport of bakery products, fruits and vegetables. They are also prevented from selling baked goods, fruits and vegetables packed in single-use cuvettes or boxes containing plastic or expanded polystyrene. The exception will be for 100% biodegradable bags and packaging, made of material of biological and renewable origin, which can be composted through domestic, industrial or natural composting processes.

in 2025

  • From 2025, beverage bottles with a capacity of less than three litres, including their caps and caps, with polyethylene terephthalate as the main component ('PET bottles') must contain at least 25% recycled plastic . From 2030 onwards, these bottles must contain at least 30% recycled plastic.
  • By 2025, each Member State must ensure that 77% of the waste weight of single-use plastic products is selectively collected. This figure will have to reach 90% in 2029.

The decree-law banning the sale of various single-use plastic products such as cotton swabs, straws and plates across the European Union goes into effect on 1 July.

The new legislation on the use of plastic utensils, approved by the European Parliament, aims to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic products in the European Union by 2026, in order to combat the pollution generated by plastic.