Annex D – Single-Use Plastic Products
102. The following is reproduced from section 2.2.3 of the EU SUPD Guidance and provides further information on the definition of single-use plastic products.
103. In accordance with point (2) of Article 3 of the Directive, a single-use product is a product that is not conceived, designed or placed on the market to accomplish, within its lifespan, multiple trips and rotations by:
- Being returned to a producer for refill or
- Reused for the same purpose for which it was conceived.
104. The Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive provides useful guidance to identify products that are placed on the market as packaging complying with these conditions and thus not considered single-use, in particular, through the definition of reusable packaging and the relevant part of the essential requirements on reusable packaging. Under point (2a) of Article 3 of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive reusable packaging means 'packaging which has been conceived, designed and placed on the market to accomplish within its lifecycle multiple trips or rotations by being refilled or reused for the same purpose for which it was conceived'. By analogy, the definition of reusable packaging provides useful guidance on reusability of non-packaging single-use plastic products because similar principles apply also to non-packaging items, e.g. regarding the intention to be reused and the possibility to recondition, clean, wash, repair the item whilst maintaining its ability to perform its intended function.
105. In accordance with point (2) of Annex II to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, which sets out the essential requirements for packaging, reusable packaging should, among others, have physical properties and characteristics which enable a number of trips or rotations in normally predictable conditions of use. Detailed conditions for compliance with these requirements are specified in the European harmonised standard EN 13429:2004 Packaging – Reuse. The requirements listed in that standard for considering the reusable nature of packaging include:
- Intention that the package is reused (i.e. purposely designed, conceived and placed on the market);
- Design of the package enables it to accomplish a number of trips or rotations;
- The package can be emptied/unloaded without significant damage, and without risk to the integrity of the product, and health and safety;
- The package can be reconditioned, cleaned, washed, repaired, whilst maintaining its ability to perform its intended function;
- Arrangements are in place to make reuse possible, i.e. a re-use system is set up and operational.
106. Where the plastic products listed in the Annex to the Directive are not placed on the market as packaging, further considerations have to be taken into account in order to determine if they are for single- or multiple-use. For example, where the same type of item that is generally placed on the market as non-reusable plastic packaging is also sold empty to final consumers (such as plastic cups or food containers), it is appropriate to consider it a single-use plastic product.
107. Operational reuse systems for refill or reloading are essential to make use of re-usable items and such systems could include postal or courier packaging or drop-boxes in store. In a functioning refill system, the product's functionality, physical capacity and quality are not modified by the producer and/or distributor between refills. It is also noted that reuse systems for the service of food and drinks implemented and managed effectively by operators may provide a more consistent assurance in that the reusable items (e.g. cups, containers and cutlery) are properly sanitized to guarantee hygiene, protect public health and ensure customer and employee safety.