Germany implements an EU-wide ban on plastic items

The European Parliament building in Strasbourg, France. (Shutterstock)

Single-use plastic products are to disappear from the market in the EU member states according to an EU directive that came into force on Saturday.

The ban adopted in 2019 affects single-use products such as single-use cutlery and plates, drinking straws, stirring sticks, cotton swabs and plastic balloon sticks.

Take-away containers and drinks cups made of Styrofoam are also no longer allowed to be placed on the market. Dealers are now required to use reusable alternatives made of glass or metal.

However, disposable products that are still in stock may still be sold.

The Federal Trade Association assumes that there are “still large quantities” that the trade would have to sell, but it does not have any more precise figures.

Disposable plates, cups and cutlery made of organic materials or biodegradable plastics are also prohibited. The same applies to disposable tableware made of cardboard, only a small part of which is made of plastic or is coated with plastic.

The national implementation of the EU directive banning plastic dishes is the responsibility of the individual member states.

According to a spokeswoman for the European Parliament, more reliable data on the status of implementation should only be available after the deadline on Saturday.

In Germany, in addition to the prohibition of the above-mentioned items, special labeling comes into force for single-use products for which there are no alternative offers. This includes hygiene articles, take-away cups made of and with plastic and cigarettes with plastic filters.

The label is intended to warn consumers of environmental damage caused by plastic and to inform them about proper disposal.

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