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Hungary bans single use plastic products

On 1 July 2021, a new Government decree enters into force in Hungary, prohibiting the placing on the market of certain single-use plastic products and products made from oxo-degradable plastic. The decree was published in Hungary's Official Gazette on 1 June.

Specifically, the decree prohibits the following products from being placed on the market:

  • Cotton bud sticks;
  • Cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks);
  • Plates;
  • Straws;
  • Beverage stirrers;
  • Sticks to be attached to and to support balloons;
  • Food containers made of expanded polystyrene (i.e. receptacles such as boxes with or without covers) used to contain food, which is intended for immediate consumption, either on-the-spot or take-away, typically consumed from the receptacle, and ready to be consumed without any further preparation, such as cooking, boiling or heating, including food containers used for fast food or other meals ready for immediate consumption, except beverage containers, plates and packets and wrappers containing food;
  • Beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, including their caps and lids;
  • Cups for beverages made of expanded polystyrene, including their covers and lids;
  • Lightweight plastic carrier bags with a wall thickness of 15 microns or more, except for those made of biodegradable plastic.

Cups for beverages not made of expanded polystyrene, including their caps and lids, will be prohibited as of 1 January 2023. Certain products are excluded from the scope of the above prohibition, such as cups intended and used for containing food for special medical purposes as well as straws and sticks qualifying as medical devices. The concept of “placement on the market” means the first time when the product is made available on the market, i.e. when it is supplied for distribution, consumption or use on the Hungarian market in the course of a commercial activity, whether in return for payment or free of charge.

Sanctions are connected to waste prevention, meaning that any violation will be sanctioned according to waste-prevention regulations.