Good news on World Oceans Day, June 8, as EU member states joined forces to fight plastic waste pollution. On June 5, 2021, the enactment of the Single-Use Plastic Directive (EU) 2019/904, which came into force, was implemented. In these guidelines, the EU Commission specifies which products fall within the scope of the directive, thus providing clarity.
The Single-Use Plastics Directive also provides for uniform labeling requirements for certain products on the packaging or on the product itself from July 3, 2021. These include feminine hygiene products and wet wipes for personal and household care that contain plastics.
A sustainable and innovative solution to prevent plastic waste pollution is also offered by the wood-based and biodegradable cellulose fibers of Lenzing AG, Austria, such as the Veocel brand fibers. Veocel fibers already offer a natural solution today for the problem of global plastic waste, and the company is continually expanding its capacities for wood-based specialty fibers as a means of promoting the development of sustainable wipes and hygiene products.
A survey by Marketagent carried out in German-speaking Europe in October 2019 concluded that 9 out of 10 consumers would immediately change their purchasing behavior for wipes if they found out that their current product contains plastic. This would seem to imply that new market dynamics will emerge once the labelling rules for single-use plastic products takes effect. According to a Smithers Report, about 500,000 tons of petroleum-based fibers are used each year for the production of wipes.