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The EU Directive on Single Use Plastics​

The EU has carried out extensive research into waste on our beaches and in our rivers, streams & oceans. As a result of this, they have identified the items most commonly found that account for over 2/3rd of all waste in the water and have set out a plan to reduce plastic marine pollution.

What does it mean for me?

The outcome is that many products and materials will be banned from use. You will need to be aware of these restrictions and abide by them.


Products that are banned include Plastic Cutlery, Plates, Straws & Drink Stirrers. This includes all products containing any plastic including anything with a plant base (PLA or CPLA). This is due to the fact that if a plant based product ends up in the oceans, rivers or streams, it will not break down as intended. These materials require specific commercial composting which means waste has to be separated and sent to specialist industrial composting facilities.


Materials that are banned include all Oxy-Degradable plastics. These plastics have an additive that makes the material fragment, the additive however means this cannot be recycled. Also, if it ends up in a marine environment, it will not break down.

Similarly, Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) will be banned. This material is most commonly used for takeaway containers, coffee cups and plates.

CategoryBannedSuggested alternativeDate effective
Plastic Straws (inc PLA) Yes Paper UK 6th April 2020
Plastic Drinks Stirrers Yes Wood UK 6th April 2020
Plastic Plates Yes Bagasse/Eco Fibre/ Paper EU 2021
Plastic Cutlery (including CPLA) Yes Wood/PC Reusable EU 2021
EPS Packaging Yes Bagasse/Kraft Paper/Eco Fibre EU 2021

In summary, in a perfect world we would switch everything to reusable. However our need for an on the go life mean a mixture of reusable and single use is more realistic. The purpose of this information is to give you and your customers the choice that meets their needs and is the correct solution for their business.