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The high functionality of plastic makes it a ubiquitous material in our daily lives. However, its use in ephemeral applications makes some production models linear and inefficient. For this reason, the SUP Directive on reducing the impact of certain plastic products on the environment was created in 2019.

This Directive proposes new circular models that give rise to reusable packaging, with the main objective of reducing the waste generated by single-use systems. It also focuses on preventing dispersed litter from reaching the marine environment, since 80-85% of marine litter is plastic waste.

What packaging is included in the SUP Directive?

In fact, the directive does not specifically affect packaging, but rather different elements made totally or partially with plastic, and which are generally designed to be used only once or for a short period of time.

SUP Directive guidelines

On June 7, the European Commission published an interpretative guide in order to clarify how and what packaging this Directive affects in EU countries. It contains definitions and guidelines that help to better understand the application of the Directive.

Concepts such as the partial or total plastic content and what must be met for a container to be single use are specified. Specific criteria are also defined for each type of container where through diagrams it is indicated whether or not they are affected by SUP (containers containing nuts, glasses and beverage containers, food wrappers, etc.).

How does it affect its application?

Restrictions on placing on the market

The following plastic products are banned:

    • -Cutlery
    • -Dishes
    • -Straws
    • -Cotton swabs
    • -Beverage stirrers
    • -Sticks to be attached to and to support balloons
    • -Food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene
    • -Cups for beverages made of expanded polystyrene

Marking requirements

The items named below shall bear a visible, clearly legible and indelible marking on the container or on the product:

    • -Sanitary towels (pads), tampons and tampon applicators
    • -Wet wipes (personal care and domestic wipes).
    • -Tobacco products with filters and filters marketed for use in combination with tobacco products
    • -Cups for beverages


This marking should inform consumers of proper product waste management options or types of product disposal to avoid for these items and also of the presence of plastics in the product.

Regulation 2020/2151 includes the marking provisions indicating the mode, position, size ... For example, in drinking glasses it is forbidden to place the marking under the base of the glass, since it is not a visible place so that the consumer knows that this item contains plastic.


Extended producer responsability

This is where the "polluter pays" principle applies. Producers of single-use plastic products will bear the costs of the following activities:

    • -Awareness measures
    • -Collection of waste products discarded in public collection systems
    • -Cleaning the discharges of dispersed garbage generated by these products
    • -Collection of data and information


When does it entry into force?

The SUP Directive must be transposed into law by all EU countries before next July 3. The rules on restrictions on placing on the market and marking of products will apply from that same day, while the measures relating to extended producer responsibility do not apply until December 31, 2024.

You don't know if the packaging you produce and/ or sell is affected by the SUP Directive? At Repaq we are expert technicians specialized in packaging with extensive experience coordinating projects based on the control of this type of laws and regulations. Contact us!