Regarding the Guidelines’ content, paper-coated products are included in the scope, while bioplastics are not expressly mentioned, but they are considered in reference to natural polymers. In addition to that, viscose, lyocell and cellulose are excluded compared to previous versions. The text clarifies that multipacks of food containers are exempted, but such exemption does not apply to packets and wrappers. Concerning caps, covers and lids, no changes have been made from the last version: plastic caps with separate sealing membrane (two-step closure) used in combination with a single-use plastic beverage container are included. The document closely resembles the latest draft published in April. At a first glance, the call from various industry groups, including EXPRA, to postpone the publication of the guidelines and the call to split them leaving aside the most controversial issues, made by Confindustria and BDI, was not taken into consideration by the Commission. Biodegradable/bio-based plastics fall under the SUPD due to a lack of widely agreed technical standards for the degradation process in the marine environment.
However, the review of the SUP Directive in 2027 will include an assessment of the scientific and technical progress concerning criteria or a standard for biodegradability in the marine environment applicable to single use plastic products.