The European Commission’s Directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, commonly referred to as the Single Use Plastics Directive, contains ambitious targets which have been successfully negotiated between the European Parliament and Member States. The finalised Directive will be formally adopted shortly and has to be transposed by Member States within two years at which stage it becomes law.
I have asked my officials to start work on the preparatory measures, legal and otherwise, needed to act on the implementation of the Directive when enacted. The Single Use Plastics Directive incorporates a wide range of measures. These include consumption reduction targets, product design, extended producer responsibilities, collection obligations, awareness raising measures, as well as the banning of some products, which will all have to be implemented between 2021 and 2030.
In addition, in advance of the publication of this Directive and with a view to showing leadership in dealing with this difficult waste stream, the Government decided that Government Departments would not purchase single-use plastic cups, cutlery and drinking straws from 1 January 2019. This decision was extended to all public bodies and commercial state agencies under the aegis of Ministers with effect from 1 April 2019.