New marking specifications for single-use plastic products -impact on cosmetic industry-

Legislative Framework

The Single-Use Plastic Directive (EU) 2019/904 was published in June 2019. Also known as SUP Directive, this law aims to prevent and reduce the impact of certain products containing plastic on the environment, specifically the marine environment, and on human health. The measures listed within this Directive must be enforced by July 2021 (Zero Waste Europe, 2019).

You might wonder what this has to do with the cosmetics industry.

In addition to the above piece of legislation, in December 2020 the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2151 was published. This focuses on the rules concerning harmonized marking specifications on single-use plastic products listed in Part D of the Annex to Directive (EU) 2019/904, specifically:

  • Sanitary towels (pads), tampons and tampon applicators;
  • Wet wipes, i.e. pre-wetted personal care and domestic wipes;
  • Tobacco products with filters and filters marketed for use in combination with tobacco products;
  • Cups for beverages (European Parliament, 2019, p.18).

Wet wipes, and potentially also face masks containing plastic and designed to be used only once, are the main cosmetic products envisaged by this Regulation.

What are the rules and implications?

Wet wipes with a surface area of 10 cm2 or more mustbear an additional marking, which states that the product contains plastics and should not be flushed due to potential danger to the marine environment (European Commission, 2020, p. 3). Consequently, through these labelling requirements, manufacturers of such products are obliged to report the presence of plastic and proper disposal instructions.

According to the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2151, the following printed marking must be displayed on packaging of wet wipes:

The Regulation provides certain specifications concerning the position, size and design of the marking and shall apply starting July 3, 2021. However, by way of derogation, the packaging marking of wet wipes placed on the market before July 4, 2022 may be affixed by means of stickers (European Commission, 2020, p. 3).

As the Regulation is directly applicable in all Member States of the European Union, the marking’s text shall be written in the official language of the Member State where the product is placed on the market (European Commission, 2020, p. 3).

Bianca Sofian

VIP Department


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