European Commission proposed new reduction measures on single use plastic in May

Plastic pollution is becoming one of the major global problems in environmental protection. It is estimated that 85% of marine litter consists of plastic litter with the number constantly on the rise.  Apart from having a huge impact on human health and ecosystem, solution for plastic litter problem represents significant opportunities for innovations and new job positions. In May, with the aim of finally resolving this growing problem, the European Commission proposed new reduction measures on single use plastic products which constitute 70% of all plastic objects found along European coast. The measures include:

  • Plastic ban in certain products: Where alternatives are readily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market. The ban will apply to plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons which will all have to be replaced with more sustainable materials instead. Single-use drinks containers for coffee and similar products will only be allowed on the market if their caps and lids remain attached;    
  • Consumption reduction: Member States will have to reduce the use of plastic food containers and drinks cups. They can do so by setting national reduction targets, making alternative products available at the point of sale, or ensuring that single-use plastic products cannot be provided free of charge;
  • Obligations for producers: Producers will help cover the costs of waste management and clean-up, as well as awareness raising measures for drinks containers and cups, packets and wrappers (such as for crisps and sweets), tobacco products with filters, wet wipes, balloons, and lightweight plastic bags. The industry will also be given incentives to develop less polluting alternatives for these products;
  • Collection targets: Member States will be obliged to collect 90% of single-use plastic drinks bottles by 2025 through different deposit refund schemes;
  • Labelling Requirements: Certain products will require a clear and standardised labelling which indicates how waste should be disposed, the negative environmental impact of the product, and the presence of plastics in the products. This will apply to sanitary towels, wet wipes and balloons;
  • Awareness-raising measures: Member States will be obliged to raise consumers' awareness about the negative impact of littering of single-use plastics and fishing gear as well as about the available re-use systems and waste management options for all these products.


The proposed measures will now go to the European Parliament and Council for adoption. The Commission urges the other institutions to treat this as a priority file, and to deliver tangible results for Europeans before the elections in May 2019.

More about new measures here.