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Products and responsibility

Single-use plastic

The ten single-use plastic products most commonly found on European beaches together with fishing gear make up 70 % of all marine litter. Therefore, with the Single-Use Plastics Directive the EU has introduced a number of new legislative measures and environmental targets. Some products are banned altogether, while others become subject to producer responsibility and requirements for marking of the products with a standardised pictogram. Littering and responsibility for cleaning up litter are new, key concepts in connection with the producer responsibility.

Which products are covered?

The purpose of the Single-Use Plastics Directive, also called the SUP directive, is to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic products as well as amounts of littered plastic waste.

See which products are subject to the different requirements

Marketing restrictions/substitution/bansMarking requirementsProducer responsibility
Until suitable substitution options are found the aim is to attain a massive reduction of the consumption in view of arriving at a marketing prohibition.Information to citizens about suitable and undesirable disposal options, the presence of plastics in products, and environmental impacts from littering.Costs for cleaning up litter/public cleansing/collection. Data gathering/monitoring of quantities, awareness raising measures.
Entry into force: 3 July 2021Entry into force: 3 July 2021Entry into force no later than 31 December 2024
- PRODUCT TYPE-- PRODUCT TYPE-- PRODUCT TYPE-
Cutlery (incl. chopsticks)Tobacco product filtersTobacco product filters (responsibility for cleaning up litter January 2023)
PlatesWet wipesWet wipes (No financing of cleaning up litter)
StrawsSanitary towelsBalloons (No financing of cleaning up litter)
Cotton bud sticksCups for beverages+caps and lidsCups for beverages+caps and lids (packaging)
StirrersLightweight plastic carrier bags (packaging)
Balloons and sticks for balloonsFood and beverage containers (packaging)
Styrofoam food boxes (EPS)Plastic bottles (packaging)
Products of oxo-degradable plastic (microplastics)Plastic fishing gear

The Single-Use Plastics Directive uses several different regulation instruments all of which aim at limiting consumption and thereby quantities of littered* plastic waste; this is done for ten specific product groups containing or being made from plastic materials.

Substitution, marking, cleaning up

To ensure efficient implementation, the provisions cover prohibition of placing on the market through the substitution principle, extended producer responsibility, taxes, and marking requirements for a number of plastic products the design and application of which are based on being used only once or a few times.

Placing on the market of some products is prohibited; this is due to the fact that substitution, i.e. the replacement of a given product, consumption, or production by other and better alternatives is found to be feasible. Products that cannot yet be substituted by better alternatives are subjected to restrictions on placing on the market in the form of targets for consumption reduction. The purpose is to promote innovation and product development of better alternatives.

By contrast to other producer responsibility regimes, producers or importers are not subject to a take-back duty for end-of-life products. Instead, there is a so-called financial responsibility for marking, information, and cleaning up litter from single-use plastic products.

Producer responsibility for tobacco product filters is the first product area within single-use plastic products implemented in Denmark. It enters into force on 5 January 2023.

What is meant by single-use plastic products?

In-scope single-use plastic products are products manufactured from bio and oxo-degradable plastics (plastics with additives that decompose the plastic into microplastics when littered) as well as fishing gear containing plastics. Single-use plastic products are made wholly or partly from plastic and are typically intended to be used just once or for a short period of time before being disposed of. In addition, some of the in-scope products are also subject to the Packaging Directive that must enter into force in Denmark no later than 31 December 2024.

Single-use plastic products that are also packaging

Single-use plastic products covered by the Single-Use Plastics Directive and that are also considered packaging (as defined by point (1) of Article 3 of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive) must comply with the requirements of both directives. In the event of a conflict between the two directives, the Single-Use Plastics Directive shall prevail.

Read more about single-use plastic products

 

Single-use plastic products

Responsibility for cleaning up litter

Cleaning up and public cleansing are new, very key concepts in the producer responsibility rules for single-use plastic products. *Littered = Thrown away/disposed after use: Fly-tipping in nature, on streets or through public waste receptacles or collection systems.

Read more about tobacco product filters

Campaigns in Denmark

For several years, national, regional, and local authorities have conducted campaigns against littering. Below are some facts gathered by Danish regions:

Facts:

  • Every year around 700 tonnes of waste is collected along Danish state roads
  • Every year, the Danish Road Directorate spends over DKK 11 million on collecting waste along state roads and on rest areas
  • Cigarette butts are by far the most commonly found waste type. It takes up to five years for a cigarette butt to decompose
  • Other types of waste that are commonly found on the roadsides are takeaway packaging, beverage cans, and plastic bags
  • More than 90 percent of Danes find that it is not OK to litter
  • Still, 11 percent reply that they have littered on streets, in nature, or on the roadsides
  • As much as 30 percent reply that they have left items in nature or in the urban space within the last three months; however, they do not consider this littering. This corresponds to one in three Danes or just below 1.8 million people

What does it mean?

Public cleansing

In Denmark, public cleansing is primarily done by local authorities, the Danish Road Directorate, and the Danish Nature Agency. This covers collection, clearance, and sweeping of littered waste as well as collection from public waste receptacles.

How much and how often public cleansing is carried out varies much. By far most of the public cleansing task is carried out on concrete hotspots with many visitors. This may be pedestrian streets, squares, parks, rest areas, and motorway ramps, along with beaches and some natural areas.

Responsibility for cleaning up litter

Much of the waste that is collected in public waste receptacles or littered in public areas consists of so-called single-use plastic.

The Single-Use Plastics Directive (also called SUP Directive) imposes on businesses producing or importing single-use plastic products a so-called producer responsibility. The producer responsibility applies to the above product types and covers a financial responsibility for cleaning up litter.

This means that businesses placing this type of products on the market must finance a share of the costs for public cleansing, collection, and disposal.

The magnitude of your financing is based on the number of products placed on the market, and it is calculated as a corresponding share of the total costs of public cleansing.

Yes, the following products are already subjected to a sales ban as there are substitution options:

  • Cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks)
  • Plates
  • Straws and cotton bud sticks (with the exception of those that are used with active implantable medical devices or other medical devices)
  • Beverage stirrers
  • Sticks to be attached to and to support balloons, except balloons for industrial or other professional uses and applications that are not distributed to consumers, including the mechanisms of such sticks
  • Food containers made from expanded polystyrene (i.e. styrofoam boxes with or without a lid) for fast food or other meal ready for immediate consumption that is typically consumed from the receptacle or is ready to be consumed without any further preparation
  • Products manufactured from oxo-degradable plastic
  • Beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene (styrofoam), including their caps and lids
  • Cups for beverages made of expanded polystyrene (styrofoam), including their caps and lids

Products that cannot yet be substituted by better alternatives are subjected to restrictions on placing on the market in the form of targets for consumption reduction. The purpose is to promote innovation and product development of better alternatives.

In the EU, a number of pictograms have been created that must be placed on certain product groups for them to be placed on the market legally.

For single-use plastic products the marking shows a dead sea turtle together with the product in question, accompanied by the wording: PLASTIC IN PRODUCT. The message is that plastics, including microplastics, are harmful to nature and the environment.

Read about producer responsibility and product marking

Registration

Businesses placing tobacco product filters on the market must register in the producer register. In Denmark, this register is administered by DPA.  For existing producers and importers registration must be made no later than 1 June 2023.

Reporting and payment

Every quarter of a year registered businesses report the number of filters sold. Reporting is done in pieces, and a fee corresponding to DKK 0.072 per filter placed on the market in the period is paid to cover the costs of cleaning up litter.

Financial responsibility for cleaning up litter

By contrast to existing producer responsibility fields under which affected businesses have the responsibility for taking back end-of-life products in view of preparing them for recycling into new products, producers of single-use plastic products have a so-called responsibility for cleaning up litter. (See above)

Article 8 of the Single-Use Plastics Directive describes the cleaning task as follows:

• ”[…] the costs of waste collection for those products that are discarded in public collection systems, including the infrastructure and its operation, and the subsequent transport and treatment of that waste.”
• ”[…]  The costs may include the setting up of specific infrastructure for the waste collection for those products, such as appropriate waste receptacles in common litter hotspots.”
• ”[…]  The costs of cleaning up litter shall be limited to activities undertaken by public authorities or on their behalf. “

Businesses “making a product available or placing it on the market for the first time” in Denmark are subject to producer responsibility.

Danish CVR number

Only producers or importers can be considered as the first level of the distribution chain in a country.  In Denmark, this means having a Danish CVR number. However, for instance distance selling by a foreign business directly to end-users in Denmark will also trigger a producer responsibility; this responsibility covers the appointment of a so-called authorised representative with a Danish CVR number. This representative must register in line with producers in the Danish producer register.

Producer responsibility following the product

When a producer or an importer in Denmark delivers a product to a distributor or an end-user for the first time, this product is considered as being placed on the market. The physical delivery of a product is not needed for it to be considered as being placed on the market. For instance, at the conclusion of an agreement on delivery of a product produced or imported into Denmark the producer responsibility and the duty of registration will take effect.

Check it out

If you are subject to producer responsibility in Denmark

If a producer or an importer is covered by the rules on producer responsibility, they must register in the producer register administered by DPA.

Read about registration

Who must register?

This depends on your selling technique and whether or not you are established in Denmark. If you have a Danish CVR number, the Danish unit must make the registration. If you are established in another EU country and sell your products, for instance, through internet trade you must appoint a so-called authorised representative in Denmark. Below is an illustration of who carries the duty of registration as a producer or importer:

The above can be assumed by the producer (individual complier) or the producer can enter an agreement with a compliance scheme. In certain conditions a business not established in Denmark can appoint an authorised representative with a Danish CVR number to assume the legal responsibility for products sold directly to Danish end-users, such as sales on the Internet.

  • 26 million
    tonnes of plastic waste is generated every year
  • 80%
    of all marine litter consists of plastics
  • 50%
    consumption reduction

Shortcuts

About registration

See how to register as a producer or an importer in the producer register

Read about tobacco filters

Read about cigarette filters and tobacco product filters subject to producer responsibility for single-use plastic products

Fees

See current fees for products subject to producer responsibility

Single-use plastic - legislation

See the statutory basis for producer responsibility for tobacco product filters (single-use plastic products)

Single-use plastic - product scoping

See which types of single-use plastic products are in scope and check out the exemptions (scoping).

Single-use plastic - marking

Read more about marking requirements for single-use plastic products

Et skodfrit Danmark (Denmark without butts)

See campaign from the Ministry of Environment against cigarette filter littering (in Danish)

European registers

Find producer registers in other EU countries