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Hungary bans single-use plastic items in line with EU directive

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Budapest, Hungary – Hungary will ban a number of single-use plastic items as part of the EU’s bid to reduce plastic waste and tackle marine pollution.

The ban, which will take effect on July 1 and puts Hungary in line with an EU directive, was announced by Attila Steiner, State Secretary for the development of circular economy, energy and climate policy.

The measure will apply to a string of plastic items commonly used in everyday life, including plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks), plates, straws, cotton swabs, as well as cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene.

Lightweight plastic carrier bags with a thickness of at least 15 microns will also be prohibited.

A number of exceptions apply, including for products such as cups, straws or sticks used for medical purposes.

The law was originally set to take effect at the beginning of the year, but was postponed as a result of the pandemic and related business complications.

The ban on single-use plastic items was detailed last year by Innovation and Technology Minister Laszlo Palkovics as part of the Hungarian government’s climate and nature protection action plan, in line with EU guidelines.

In 2019, the European Commission adopted a directive on single-use plastics to tackle the 10 most commonly used items and promote sustainable alternatives, with a legal ban set to take effect across the EU on July 3 this year.

A few months ago, the Czech government also approved a bill designed to significantly reduce the use of a number of single-use plastic items.

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