From July, the European Commission’s Single Use Plastic Directive (SUPD) rules that all disposable period products sold in the EU, even those containing no oil-based plastics, must display a ‘Plastic in product’ logo.
It’s part of a wider crackdown on the top pollutants on European beaches – wet wipes, drinks cups, fishing gear and cigarette filters – but the mark will prove problematic for plastic-free period products, since the directive does not differentiate between plant-based plastics (which can be composted) and traditional petroleum-based plastics.
The SUPD stipulates that from July all disposable period products – such as tampons, pads and liners – must show the new logo on pack.
Susie Hewson, founder and director of British organic personal care brand Natracare – which exports to multiple EU countries – has been lobbying the European Union, urging them to consider how this will impact brands such as her own which offer ecological alternatives made from compostable and renewable materials.
“Our products proudly carry an independent ‘Plastic Free’ certification, meaning they contain no petroleum-based plastic. So, to have another conflicting logo next to it, forced by this new directive, is very confusing for our customers,” says Hewson.
It seems that the issue of biodegradable plastics has not been adequately considered
“This was a rushed publication, and it seems that the issue of biodegradable plastics has not been adequately considered. As a business rooted in sustainability, we truly support the aims of the directive, but it is our view that this approach will not incentivize oil-based plastic brands to move to more ecological materials.”
The UK Government is not obliged to implement the SUPD in England, Scotland and Wales, however Northern Ireland will be required to comply by 2022 as part of the Northern Ireland Protocol.