EU-wide warning label for disposable plastics as of July 2021 / Germany's federal government decides on mandatory labelling of SUP items
Many single-use plastic (SUP) products will be banned in the EU as of July 2021 (see of 28.03.2019 and 10.12.2020). Other products that are made entirely or partially of plastic and cannot currently be banned will be required to have a special label going forward, with a warning regarding environmental damage caused by plastic. This was resolved by Germany's federal cabinet on 10 February 2021 as part of the single-use plastic labelling regulation (EWKKennzV).

“We want to prevent careless throwing away of plastic packaging and items,” said Svenja Schulze, the German federal minister for the environment, “because disposable products in particular end up in nature or in the sewage system far too often. In addition to this, consumers are often unaware that some products contain plastic. That’s what we are clarifying with the new warnings.”

The warnings are to be integrated into the layout of the packaging of products containing plastic in a clearly recognisable manner, as of 3 July 2021. Beginning in July, manufacturers of articles containing plastic will no longer be allowed to distribute unlabelled products. The label consists of a pictogram and text identifying the respective product category. The first products to be marked are hygiene products such as sanitary pads, tampons, tampon applicators and wet wipes, as well as tobacco products with plastic-containing filters or plastic-containing filters for use in tobacco products, and disposable beverage cups.
Transitional period until July 2022
According to Schulze, these products are among the problematic wastes that pollute the beaches of the European Union particularly frequently. She added that other products could be included in the regulation at a later stage. An EU-wide ban is not yet an option for these products because there are currently no alternatives that are more environmentally sound. However, the European Union has announced that it will evaluate the directive by 2027 and revise it if necessary.

There is a transitional period until 3 July 2022 in which manufacturers may temporarily label their products with non-removable stickers. In this way, products that have already been manufactured but not yet distributed by the manufacturer can be labelled without much effort. A sale of non-labelled products by retailers remains possible even after the deadline. This prevents usable goods from having to be senselessly destroyed. As products have to be labelled throughout the EU and the import of unlabelled products from non-EU countries will be prohibited in the future, it will be ensured that unlabelled products gradually disappear from the market.
The cap must remain on the bottle
In addition to this, the EWKKennzV regulation stipulates that closures and lids of plastic beverage containers must be firmly attached to the beverage container as of 3 July 2024. This new rule is intended to prevent the separated caps and lids from ending up in the environment. After the decision in the cabinet, the regulation must pass the Bundestag and the Bundesrat must approve it. The regulations are due to come into force across Europe on 3 July 2021, together with the SUP ban.

Following the regulation banning single-use plastics and the draft law implementing requirements of the EU’s Single-Use Plastics Directive and Waste Framework Directive in the Packaging Act and other laws, the EWKKennzV regulation implements a further measure of Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on reducing the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.
18.02.2021 [246953-0]
Published on 18.02.2021
Kunststoff: Warnhinweis für Wegwerfplastik ab Juli 2021German version of this article...

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