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Czechia to ban plastic straws, cutlery and other disposable items

Czechia to ban plastic straws, cutlery and other disposable items

The Czech Republic makes a great leap towards limiting plastic pollution

From July this year, many plastic products intended for single-use, such as plates, cutlery or straws, will not be manufactured or imported in the Czech Republic. This was announced after a Government meeting held on 25 January, approved a bill transposing the European directive 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.

Preventing billions of plastic items from polluting nature

The proposed legislation includes a total ban on the production and import of disposable plastic plates, cutlery or straws. The prohibition also concerns cotton buds, balloon rods and holders, as well as drinking cups made of expanded polystyrene, which exert the most negative influence on nature. Plastic bottles will only be able to be sold with attached caps, while PET bottles will have to contain at least 30 percent recycled materials by 2030.

The legislators expect that this will reduce consumption by about 1.77 billion pieces per year.

The proposal imposes additional obligations onto manufacturers, namely, to inform about the proper handling of waste, especially that generated from hygiene and tobacco products. They will also be obliged to mark plastic products in a uniform way, conforming to the regulation of the European Commission.

Finally, the bill also strengthens the so-called extended producer responsibility on selected plastic waste. Manufacturers of filter cigarettes, for example, will be involved in cleaning up waste from their products in the municipalities. To do this, they should cooperate with municipal authorities, including by financially contributing to the process.

For its part, the Ministry intends to financially support the transition to alternatives to disposable plastics. Recently, it has provided grants worth 60 million Czech korunas to city and municipal projects.

"The aim of the new law is to reduce the senseless overuse of many thousands of tons of disposable plastics a year, especially from fast food and mass events. When it comes to banning selected disposable products, there are already a number of reusable alternatives to them, and we can save millions of plastic products a year. In addition, it will also help people better manage plastic waste and municipalities will receive a contribution to the cleaning of public spaces," explained Minister of the Environment Richard Brabec, as quoted in a press release.

The proposal is yet to be approved by the Parliament, hence it is expected that market restriction will enter into force after 1 July, 2021. After that, it will still be possible to sell plastic products in stock for another year.

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