Parliament bans single-use plastic

The Hungarian Parliament passed a legislation on the ban of single-use plastic in Hungary on 7 July 2020 as part of the Climate and Nature Protection Action Plan. The legislation was meant to be accepted earlier this year, however then the proposal was withdrew because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to an earlier press release from the Ministry for Innovation and Technology, the “Hungarian Government is committed to defend the created world”.

The reduction of the use of various plastics was on the agenda of the Hungarian Government for years. The ban is an obligation under the EU law requiring Member States to eliminate specific plastics from use such as single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws and stirrers by 2021. The Hungarian implementation is stricter, as it applies to a wider range of products than its EU counterpart, for example plastics with a size between 15 and 50 microns. Furthermore, plastic bags under 15 micron will be charged with 20 times higher environmental protection product charge.

The reasoning behind the legislation is that plastic, especially single-use plastic products or products containing micro plastics are dangerous for the environment as they have a slow rate of decomposition and damage organisms, thus entering the food chain. Environmental activists and civil organizations have expressed their agreement to the restrictions, while actors from the plastic industry are preparing for the entry into force of the legislation by 1 July 2021.