Single-use plastics (SUP)

The goal of the SUP directive, which imposes sales bans and marking requirements for certain single-use plastics, is to prevent and reduce the impact of single-use plastics on the environment, especially on the aquatic environment. In addition, the directive promotes the transition to the circular economy.

The SUP directive is not directly applicable in Finland. To enforce the requirements set out in the directive, they must be separately implemented at a national level. Currently, the Ministry of the Environment is preparing the national legislation associated with the SUP directive. The matter will be nationally regulated in the Waste Act and in the government decree issued under it. 

The national implementation of the SUP directive will be delayed According to the preliminary timetable of the Ministry of the Environment, the amendment to the Waste Act will come into force in July 2021, and the government decree issued under it will come into force on 15 August 2021. 

The requirements set out in the directive are described below. As long as no national legislation on single-use plastics exists, questions concerning the implementation of the SUP directive in Finland cannot be answered with full reliability.

Product restrictions

According to Article 5 of the directive, the placement on the market of the following single-use plastic products will be prohibited starting from 3 July 2021:

  • cotton bud sticks
  • cutlery
  • 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 a cover, used to contain food which:
    • is intended for immediate consumption, either on-the-spot or take-away,
    • is typically consumed from the receptacle, and
    • is ready to be consumed without any further preparation, such as cooking, boiling or heating.
  • beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, including their caps and lids
  • cups for beverages made of expanded polystyrene, including their covers and lids

Exceptions include straws and cotton bud sticks that are within the scope of application of directives on medical equipment.

Article 5 of the directive also prohibits the placement on the market of products made from oxo-degradable plastic starting from 3 July 2021.

Marking requirements

Article 7 of the SUP directive also sets marking requirements for the following products:

  • sanitary towels (pads), tampons and tampon applicators
  • wet wipes, i.e. pre-wetted personal care and domestic wipes
  • tobacco products with filters and filters marketed for use in combination with tobacco products
  • cups for beverages

The marking requirements apply to products placed on the market starting from 3 July 2021.

The Commission can issue implementing regulations on the basis of the SUP directive. Unlike the directive, they will be directly in force in Finland, without any separate national regulations. The Commission issued an implementing regulation on marking requirements in December 2020.  Therefore, the requirements set out in the implementing regulation are directly obligatory. 

The following products must contain a marking on the sales and grouped packaging:

  • sanitary towels (pads)
  • tampons and tampon applicators
  • wet wipes, i.e. pre-wetted personal care and domestic wipes
  • filters marketed for use in combination with tobacco products

Tobacco products with filters must carry the marking on the unit packet and outside packaging.

Beverage cups must bear either a printed marking or an engraved/embossed marking. 

The marking requirements apply to products placed on the market starting from 3 July 2021. The marking can be affixed with a sticker to products placed on the market before 4 July 2022.

The marking consists of an image and text below the image to indicate that the product contains plastic. In Finland, the text must be in Finnish and Swedish.

Placement on the market and making available on the market in the SUP directive 

‘Making available on the market’ means any supply of a product for distribution, consumption or use on the Finnish market in the course of a commercial activity, whether in return for payment or free of charge. ‘Placing on the market’ means the first making available of a product on the Finnish market.

Frequently asked questions