On Friday, January 14, Italian Legislative Decree 196/2021 to prevent and reduce the impact of single-use plastics on the environment entered into force
On January 14, Italian Legislative Decree 196/2021 entered into force to reduce the impact of single-use plastics on the environment, especially on the seabed.
It’s an important step forward because it imposes severe restrictions on the use of single-use plastics, biodegradable and not compostable. We can finally say goodbye to plastic plates, cutlery and cups, as well as to cotton buds and straws and many other single-use plastic objects, but not to products made of 100% biodegradable plastic and those biodegradable and compostable, with a percentage of renewable raw material of at least 40%, as mentioned in the EU Directive.
The Legislative Decree, issued to “promote the transition towards a circular economy with innovative and sustainable business models, products and materials” aims to “promote the use of recycled plastic suitable for food contact in plastic bottles for beverages” and establishes expensive fines for offenders, from 2.500 to 25.000 euros.
The Legislative Decree was supposed to be approved together with the so-called Plastic Tax, which should impose restrictions on companies and penalties for those who keep using this kind of material. However, the Plastic Tax has been postponed and will now not come into force until 2023 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Both the Legislative Decree and the Plastic Tax are much-debated topics. In particular, the most affected companies from an economic point of view resist the most strongly. It is estimated that the beverage industry, which uses single-use plastics, will suffer the most after the implementation of the Legislative Decree and future law.
If, on the one side, it’s understandable that these kinds of changes should come with some support to the most affected and penalized companies, on the other hand we must be aware of the exponential rise of projections on global plastic production.
Venice Lagoon Plastic Free empirically certifies the entity of the problem, frequently monitoring the waste deposited in our lagoon. Many times, we have pointed out that plastic represents the most significant slice of the waste collected. We’re aware that this is not just a local problem, but a global emergency that cannot be solved with a downstream clean-up.
It’s necessary to promote initiatives to reduce the large consumption of single-use plastics and reach a circular economy for plastic which the new law will help to achieve in Italy and other EU countries through the same legislation.