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EU directive banning single-use plastic products takes effect today

DUBLIN: The European Union directive to restrict the sale of certain single-use plastic products in the Irish market will take effect today (July 3).  

Products such as straws, cutlery, and cotton buds have been found to be the most frequently polluting European beaches. The Single-Use Plastics Directive sets strict rules for reducing the type of such products and packaging.

The ban was agreed upon by the 27 EU member states, including Ireland, in 2019, and they have had two years to transpose the legislation into national law.

Cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, stirrers, chopsticks, straws, expanded polystyrene single-use food and beverage containers, and all oxo-degradable plastic products are among the single-use plastic items banned from the Irish market under the EU directive.

Products with easily available and affordable alternatives, such as cutlery, plates, and straws, will be banned from the market, while efforts will be made to limit the use of other products through design and labeling, as well as clean-up obligations for those who manufacture them.

Other measures

The EU directive includes other measures that will take effect in the coming years.

Producers of certain single-use plastic packaging will be forced to fund the expenses of litter cleanup by January 5, 2023. The European Commission will release details on how this will be calculated.

It will be mandatory for drink manufacturers to use at least 25% recycled plastic in their single-use plastic bottles beginning in January 2025.

“Our future depends on us rapidly changing the way we produce products; this will contribute to a much wider effort to address climate change,” said Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell.

The EU directive is aligned with the Irish Government’s waste management strategy. The plan aims to cut food waste in half by 2030. It also includes a deposit and return scheme for plastic bottles and aluminum cans, as well as a levy on disposable cups.

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