The EU’s New Plastics Law Explained 

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know.

The recent introduction of an EU law banning single-use plastics in hotels and restaurants has significant implications for packaging designers, converters, brand owners, and sustainability managers. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know: 

As part of its green initiative, the EU is gearing up to ban single-use plastics commonly found in hotels and restaurants, including miniature shampoo bottles and other toiletries, single-use plastic packaging of fresh fruit and vegetables and fast food such as sauce sachets.

What’s the point of the new law?

Negotiators have hammered out targets to slash packaging waste by 5% before 2030 and ensure that all packaging becomes recyclable by that deadline. This ban extends beyond just hotel amenities to encompass disposable plates, cups, fast food packaging, and even harmful chemicals in food contact materials.

The overarching goal of this legislation is to combat the escalating problem of packaging waste, which has surged by more than 20% across the EU over the past decade. 

Christophe Jordan, the Managing Director of Sylvicta says: “We stand in full support of initiatives aimed at reducing plastic packaging across industries, particularly in hospitality. As hotels are producing 289,000 tons of solid waste yearly, we believe it’s crucial to address environmental challenges by offering sustainable solutions. We also encourage increased efforts in the UK to further drive progress in reducing plastic waste.”

The UK isn’t doing enough 

While the UK has taken steps with its own bans on some single-use plastics, the EU’s measures are notably more sweeping. However, the final implementation of this legislation hinges on approval from the European Parliament and EU governments, with right-wing parties pushing back, citing concerns about economic burdens. 

The ban’s impact will also extend to Northern Ireland, which continues to adhere to EU regulations post-Brexit. Environmental advocacy groups like WWF UK and A Plastic Planet have applauded the EU’s proactive stance and are calling for similar action in the UK. Despite the UK’s strides such as banning microbeads and introducing a plastic packaging tax, there’s a growing consensus for more ambitious measures to promote waste prevention and embrace reusable systems. 

Plastic reduction: a global effort

The EU’s move reflects a global shift towards combating plastic pollution and fostering sustainable practices.  

Efforts to ban single-use plastics are gaining a momentum all around the world, Canada aims for zero plastic waste by 2030, already banning single-use plastic bags as of December 2022.

Early bans by countries like Bangladesh spurred action, with nearly 77 countries and 32 U.S. states implementing restrictions on plastic bags, while the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative targets reducing tourism-related plastic waste by 2025.