Single-use plastics will be banned in Portugal after a European directive comes into force from 1 July 2021 (today).
The directive, which is mandatory in all EU member states, bans, among others, products made of or with plastic, including cutlery, straws, cotton swabs, stirrers, balloon sticks and styrofoam for food containers, according to a report by the Lusa news agency.
The Portuguese government had decided to implement the measure last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement and the country will now respect the EU deadline.
However, the measure is now being criticised for being 'unambitious', according to the report.
A new study by PA Consulting has revealed that a lack of cohesion and infrastructure in the plastics recycling industry is leading to consumer confusion, with many holding brands and retailers responsible for ensuring plastic waste is kept to a minimum.
Portuguese Pact For Plastics
The draft law is "very much in line" with the directive, but Pedro São Simão, coordinator of the Portuguese Pact for Plastics (PPP), says it could have gone further as a previous version was to be applied for all single-use packaging, not just plastic.
The PPP involves companies, industry players, retailers, brands, municipalities, universities, industry associations and waste management entities. One of its targets is to switch to 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025.
The same criticism was made by the environmental associations Zero, ANP/WWF and Sciaena, which say that the final proposal was "weakened" compared to previous versions.
São Simão highlights the need to rethink both “behaviour" and "the entire value chain”, because disposable products have to be "reviewed" and it is necessary to look for solutions that are "increasingly reusable" or "100% circular.
Although Europe is not the main polluter, he believes that Europe must take the lead in solving the plastic pollution problem.
For now, the reality is that as of July there will be many limitations on the use of single-use plastic, especially in restaurants.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine