Single-Use Plastics Directive drives sustainable packaging

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Published 21 June 2021
Directive on single-use plastics entered into force already two years ago 2 July 2019. Now, the Commission adopted guidelines on single-use plastics products end of May 2021 while ban on certain single-use plastic products and marking requirements enters into force on 3 July 2021. We welcome the shift towards paper and board-based materials and continue to innovate with our materials.

The SUP Directive (Directive (EU) 2019/904) targets to reduce the impact of certain single-use plastic products on the environment and promote the transition to a circular economy. In addition to plastics, some paper-based products will also be impacted if they contain plastic and are used for the specific product categories and end uses which are in the scope of the Directive such as cups for beverages and plates.

Paper and board-based materials will continue to provide many sustainable and circular packaging solutions also in the future. Fiber-based packaging offers vast opportunities to innovate, replace plastic and fit into existing recycling system.

Generally speaking, the single-use products made only from paper- and board-based material are not impacted by the Directive. However, if they have a plastic coating or lining to provide protection against water or fat, they will be impacted by the directive if used for the specific product categories and end uses which are in the scope of the Directive.

Implementation on country level

The EU Member states will interpret these definitions at national level as they proceed with the implementation of the Directive and the measures between member states may differ. Thus, the packaging material, end market regulation, specific end use of the product and the converting process steps will all impact whether the end product is defined to be a single-use plastic product or not. For all products, the interpretation needs to be done for the final end product and end use at national level.

To support a smooth implementation process Stora Enso is looking forward to discussing the specific material information with customers to facilitate the interpretations for final end products and end uses. For more information, please contact Maria Holopainen, Business Lead on Circular Economy, at

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Part of the bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading global provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction and paper. We employ some 23 000 people and have sales in more than 50 countries and our shares are listed on the Helsinki (STEAV, STERV) and Stockholm (STE A, STE R) stock exchanges.

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