Author: Natália Jánosková, senior associate Gesellschaftsrecht/Corporate and M&A (cms.law)
An amendment of the Act No. 79/2015 Coll came into force on July 3, 2021. In summary, it prohibits companies from placing on the Slovakian market certain single-use plastic products as well as packaging and non-packaging products made of OXO-biodegradable plastic. In this article, you will learn which products this ban affects and how currently stored goods are to be treated.
This ban has been introduced with the aim of avoiding the environmental impact of certain plastic products and supporting the transition to a circular economy characterized by innovative and sustainable business models, products, and materials.
The legislation aims to support manufacturers who bring recyclable products to the market. Among other things, the aim is to move away from the use of composite packaging or multiple types of packaging for the same product.
Following European legislation, the Slovak Waste Act prohibits companies from placing the following products on the Slovakian market:
- single-use plastic products,
- packaging made of OXO-biodegradable plastics, and
- non-packaging products made of OXO-biodegradable plastics.
The ban does not apply to all single-use plastic products. However, cutlery, plates, some types of cotton buds, some types of straws, drink stirrers, some expanded polystyrene food containers, expanded polystyrene beverage containers, or beverage cups, for example, are banned.
In addition to single-use plastic products, packaging made from OXO-biodegradable plastics – i.e. packaging containing additives that cause the plastic material to break down into micro-fragments or chemically degrade through oxidation – is also banned. In simple terms, this is plastic packaging that breaks down into small particles through exposure to oxygen, such as containers for vegetables, fruit, desserts or ice cream. Non-packaging products made from OXO-biodegradable plastics have also been blacklisted. These include, for example, refuse bags.
An appendix of the Slovak Waste Act lists the products that have been banned. However, a number of exceptions should be noted. Several specific products require special assessment, e.g. paper products with plastic lining (paper cups reinforced with a plastic lining or coating).
These selected products should be replaced by more environmentally friendly alternatives, such as paper or reusable products.
In addition to the ban, other measures targeted at making packaging more sustainable are to be monitored – labeling requirements for these products, should also be introduced, for example.
Single-use plastic products covered by the ban can be distributed until 31.12.2021. However, this only applies to products placed on the Slovak market before 3.7.2021. This means that products that arrived in the dealers’ warehouses before 3.7.2021 can be sold until the end of this year. However, packaging and non-packaging made of OXO-biodegradable plastic arriving after this date may no longer be placed or distributed on the Slovak market.