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Restrictions on disposable plastic products

  • Slovakia
  • Environment

20-12-2021

In November 2021, an amendment to the Waste Act was adopted, which introduced measures to reduce the consumption of certain disposable plastic products. Below we bring you an overview of some of the new obligations that await us.

Restrictions on consumption

For example, from 1 December 2021, a producer of disposable plastic beverage glasses and food containers who provides them to the final consumer for the consumption of food and beverages at a place other than the point of sale is obliged to:

a) provide them for a fee; it must inform the final consumer of this,

b) offer the final consumer a reusable alternative, or

c) offer a biodegradable alternative.

In addition to the above restrictions, the amendment also contains an explicit ban on providing the final consumer with disposable plastic products. It is prohibited to provide disposable plastic products in permanent public and fast-food establishments as well as at public events if food and beverages are to be consumed at the point of sale.

In this context, an obligation has been introduced for organisers of public events to ensure that the subsequent separate collection of biodegradable products is carried out.

To reduce consumption, new requirements are also set for the plastic products themselves:

a) from 3 June 2024, plastic caps will have to be attached to the beverage packaging (e.g. beverage bottles),

b) from 1 January 2025, PET beverage bottles will have to contain at least 25% recycled plastics,

c) from 1 January 2030, all beverage packaging (i.e. not only PET bottles) will have to contain at least 30% recycled plastics.

Labelling of disposable plastic products

To increase awareness of the composition of selected products, manufacturers of beverage glasses, sanitary napkins, tampons, wet wipes and tobacco products with filters are obliged to label the product with information about the presence of plastics and its negative effects on the environment, as well as the most appropriate ways of handling the product or disposal methods that need to be avoided.

Extended responsibility for manufacturers of special plastic products

From 1 January 2023, additional obligations will be added to manufacturers of disposable plastic products, such as lightweight plastic bags, food containers, beverage packaging and the like. For example, they will be obliged to bear the costs associated with cleaning the environment contaminated with waste from these products, unless they have been disposed of in local waste collection systems. From 1 December 2026, these extended obligations will also apply to manufacturers of wet wipes, balloons and tobacco products.

As a result of the amendment, the extended responsibility will also apply to producers of tobacco products and fishing tackle.