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Compliance Instructions for Single-use Plastic Products in the EU and the U.K.

In June 2019, the European Union published Directive (EU) 2019/904 on single-use plastics, which aims to prevent and reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, in particular the aquatic environment, and on human health, as well as to promote the transition to a circular economy with innovative and sustainable business models, products and materials. EU member states will bring into force the laws necessary to comply with this Directive by July 3, 2021 (the actual implementation date may vary among member states).


According to the Directive, single-use plastic products that are prohibited to place on the EU market from July 3, 2021 (a single-use plastic product means, as defined in the Directive, a product that is made wholly or partly from plastic. For example, plastic-lined and -coated paper cups will be considered as single-use plastic products) are as follows:

1.Cotton bud sticks (except those identified as medical devices);

2.Cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks, etc.);


4.Straws (except those identified as medical devices);

5. Beverage stirrers

6.Sticks to be attached to and to support balloons (except balloons for industrial or other professional uses and applications);

7.Beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, including their caps and lids;

8.Food containers made of Expanded Polystyrene, including their covers;

9.Any products made from oxo-degradable plastic;

10.Products with microplastics less than 5 mm (depending on the regulations of the specific countries).

In addition, for certain single-use plastic products that are permitted to be made available on the market, a clearly legible marking shall be provided either on the packaging of the product or directly on the product itself to inform consumers about the presence of plastics in the product and appropriate waste management options for the product, including the importance of avoiding littering. (For more details about rules on harmonized marking specifications on single-use plastic products, see Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2151). These single-use plastic products include:

1.Sanitary towels (pads), tampons and tampon applicators;

2.wet wipes, i.e. pre-wetted personal care and domestic wipes;

3.Tobacco products with filters and filters marketed for use in combination with tobacco products;

4.beverage cups.

The U.K. also published similar environmental protection regulations (i.e. The Environmental Protection (Plastic Straws, Cotton Buds and Stirrers) (England) Regulations 2020) to prohibit the placing on the U.K. market of single-use plastic products (currently effective only in England). The Regulations apply to all businesses that supply these products, including manufacturers and retailers. Specific requirements are as follows:


(Effective from October 1, 2021, unless otherwise stated)



Single-use plastic straws (prohibited in B2C)

-        Single-use straws made of other materials

-        Paper straws lined with plastic binders

Under certain circumstances, single-use plastic straws can still be used on the following occasions:

- Registered pharmacies

- Catering establishments

-        Relevant devices and medical purposes

-        Packaging, e.g. single-use plastic straws which are attached to the packaging of certain medicines

-        Care homes, prisons, schools, and premises used for early years provision

Single-use plastic stemmed cotton buds(prohibited in B2C)

Single-use cotton buds made of other materials

Single-use plastic stemmed cotton buds can still be used in the following situations:

-        Relevant devices and medical purposes

-        Forensic purposes

-        Scientific purposes, e.g. diagnostic, educational, or research purposes

Plastic drink stirrers

Drink stirrers made of other materials


Drink products with an attached plastic straw on the packaging (effective from July 3, 2021)




Other reusable alternatives




Sellers of relevant categories on Alibaba.com should pay attention to the above EU and U.K. trade bans, and respond in advance to protect your own rights and interests since the above single-use plastic products may be restricted in customs clearance in the 27 EU member states and the U.K. (depending on local market supervision and customs enforcement).



1Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dir/2019/904/oj

2、Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2151 of 17 December 2020 laying down rules on harmonised marking specifications on single-use plastic products listed in Part D of the Annex to Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment:




Aug 2, 2021