European Directive 2019/904 on single-use plastics seeks to reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, with effect from July 2021. Through reduction and prohibition measures, labeling and design requirements, as well as extended producer responsibility, the directive aims to promote circular approaches that give priority to sustainable and non-toxic reusable products and reuse systems.
The Department of Environment, between November 17 and December 7, 2020, made available for public consultation the draft regulations which will transpose the provisions of the new directive into the Cypriot legislation. As part of the consultation, the environmental organisations Ecological Movement Cyprus, Friends of the Earth Cyprus, Let’s Make Cyprus Green and Terra Cypria, jointly submitted a document with their positions, in order to make the transposition more effective and ambitious. On the draft submitted for consultation, the most important suggestions that were made were the following:
- Set binding, measurable, national consumption reduction targets for single-use cups and food containers. Without clear goals it is doubtful whether we will achieve the lasting reduction in consumption required by the EU.
- Introduce measures to ensure reusable alternatives. For example, all restaurants and cafes should be required to provide reusable utensils when it comes to on-site consumption.
- Use financial means to ensure that single-use products (made of plastic or other materials) are not provided free-of-charge at the point of sale.
- Introduce the necessary safeguards so that single-use plastic products are not substituted for other single-use products made of other materials, e.g. bamboo.
- Producers of single-use plastic waste should be charged higher fees than producers whose products cause less pollution.
- Establish Deposit Return Schemes in Cyprus without further delay. That is, consumers should be rewarded when they return packaging they have used at designated collection points, so that the packaging can be recycled or reused.
- The government must use “green” public procurement with criteria that exclude single-use products. An example could be the creation of infrastructure that provides clean, filtered and healthy water in public places, government buildings, schools, camps, etc.
- Additionally, prohibit products that are particularly problematic in Cyprus, which are used in huge quantities during the carnival celebrations, e.g., confetti poppers, silly string and foam sprays. These products have a negative impact on the environment, air quality, and are likely to threaten human health.
- Make it possible through the regulations to ban plastic or other single-use products at specific events (e.g. at celebrations, festivals, dances, etc.), as is already the case in many European countries.
The four co-signatory organizations maintain the belief that the proper, timely and ambitious transposition of the Single-Use Plastics Directive will have significant benefits for the environment of Cyprus and human health. At the same time, they emphasize that this legislation should be promoted quickly for voting and implementation so that Cyprus is not burdened with another fine due to untimely compliance with European legislation.
Find the document (in Greek) with the detailed positions of the organisations below.