A single-use plastic fork in the water.

Looking at the New European Single-Use Plastic Regulations

As of the start of this month, the EU announced that it’s no longer allowing certain single-use plastic items to be placed on the Member States market, with specific marking and labelling requirements also coming into force.

The directive covers a broad list of single-use plastic items, including (but not limited to) balloons, cotton bud sticks, packets and wrappers, and, of course, wet wipes. Here at Guardpack, we provide a wide range of private label wet wipe products, including biodegradable wipes, for both UK and EU markets. We wanted to take a look at the directive, and the potential implications, in a bit more detail.

What Does the Regulation Say?

Single-use plastic items will now require a specific logo (seen below) to be placed onto their packaging, so that users are left in no doubt as to the contents of their items.

Through national legislation, EU member states must ensure that products in the following categories – 1) sanitary towels, tampons and tampon applicators; 2) wet wipes; 3) tobacco products with filters; 4) cups for beverages – bear the aforementioned marking on either its packaging or the product itself.

Which Wet Wipes are Covered by the Directive?

The wet wipe products covered by the directive are those used for personal care and for domestic purposes. These include baby wipes, skin cleansing wipes, cosmetic wipes, intimate care wipes, household cleaning wipes and spectacle cleaning wipes.

Excluded from the directive are industrial wet wipes and wet wipes for professional use. These include automotive wipes, electronic and computer industry wipes, food industry wipes, janitorial wipes, printing industry wipes and medical/healthcare wipes.

Why is the Directive Needed?

Over the past few years, the need to tackle the quantities of single-use plastics we produce, globally, has become increasingly apparent. As a material, plastics are great for lots of things, but the environment isn’t one of them. With most plastics taking thousands of years to degrade, and with the world’s oceans being affected more and more by marine litter, people are understandably concerned.

In fact, when surveyed, 87% of Europeans said they were worried about the environmental impacts caused by plastic. And with the 10 single-use item categories listed within the directive (balloons, sanitary items, wet wipes etc.) accounting for over 40% of litter on European beaches, it’s not hard to see why such concerns exist.

Our Biodegradable Wipes

Here at Guardpack, we offer 100% biodegradable viscose wipes as part of our commitment to a cleaner, greener future. Our compostable, biodegradable wipes degrade at a far quicker rate than single-use alternatives, whilst at the same time still offering a highly effective cleaning and hygiene solution.

These viscose wipes are exempt from the packaging marking requirements, rendering them a better alternative in terms of aesthetics and visual branding. If you’re looking for a sleek-looking packaged product, then the addition of a logo isn’t going to be the end of the world, but it may limit how visually attractive you can make it look.

Similar Changes Will Likely Come to the UK

The UK, following its departure from the European Union, is under no obligation to follow these regulations – but products from the UK sold and distributed within EU member states will have to abide by the regulations.

And even though this news strictly pertains to EU member states, however, it’s likely that the UK will also soon follow suit; especially when you consider the increasing global desire to reduce the quantities of single-use plastics being both produced and wasted.

Contact Us

In many ways, the addition of visual markings can be thought of in the same way that cigarettes changed their packaging, years ago now, to include possible health consequences as a result of smoking. Action stems from awareness, and so this directive from the EU is to be welcomed unconditionally.

So, if you’d like to find out more about our biodegradable wipes, or any of our other wet wipe products for that matter, then get in touch! Contact Guardpack today on 01245 505 807 or by emailing us at trade@guardpack.co.uk. Alternatively, you can fill out one of our online enquiry forms. However you wish to get in touch, we look forward to hearing from you.

Comments are closed.