Materials made of, or containing plastics are present in many aspects of our daily activities and they constitute an important element of our economy.

The biggest challenge faced is that they have low rates of reuse, recovery and recycling when compared with other recyclables (i.e. paper, metals and glass). The majority of plastic waste streams result in being disposed of in a landfill or incinerated, and littered, hence ending up in the oceans due to an incorrect disposal method and lack of collection.


Flow chart about life cycle of plastics


At European level, the first European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy  was adopted on January 2018, which aims to protect the environment from plastic pollution whilst at the same time create the foundations for a new plastics economy, where design and production fully respect reuse, repair and recycling needs and more sustainable materials are developed.


European Commission Logo for the EU Plastic Strategy


The European Strategy for Plastics identifies single-use plastics as one of the main plastics of concern since consumption of these items keeps increasing, being most of these single-use plastic products not recyclable. In this context, a Directive on the reduction of impact of certain plastic products on the environment is being discussed at European level.

In June 2019, a new directive was adopted with the aim to prevent and reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment as well as to promote circular economy for plastics. The Directive (EU) 2019/904 introduces different measures that apply to a number of plastic products, depending on various factors, such as the availability of alternatives to such products. These measures give priority to sustainable and non-toxic re-usable products and re-use systems rather than to single-use products, and to reduce the quantity of plastic waste generated.


As part of the 2020 Budget speech, the Government announced a new measure whereby the importation, production, sale and distribution of certain single use plastic (SUP) items, will be prohibited as from 1st January 2021, whilst their selling and distribution will be prohibited as from 1st January 2022.

S.L. 549.140 , the Restrictions on Placing on the Market of Single-Use Plastic Products Regulations, 2020 implement part of the said Budget measure whilst also transposing Article 5 and Article 6(1) and 6(2) of the Directive (EU) 2019/904.

These regulations prohibit the placement on the market of:

  • As from 1st January 2021, the SUP items listed in Part A of the Schedule and of products made from oxo-degradable plastic. Such SUP items include cutlery, straws, plates, cotton bud sticks, beverage stirrers, balloon sticks as well as food or beverage containers and cups made of expanded polystyrene; and
  • As from 3rd July 2024, the SUP items listed in Part B of the Schedule. Such SUP items include plastic and composite beverage containers with a capacity of up to three litres only if the plastic caps and lids do not remain attached to the containers during their use.


For further details on S.L. 549.140 refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).


Additionally to the Directive (EU) 2019/904, the forthcoming Single-Use Plastic Products Strategy for Malta 2020-2030, will further help the transition for Malta to reduce the consumption of single‑use plastic products, to increase the quality and quantities of plastic waste collected for recycling; and to protect the environment and human health from plastic pollution.



Front page image of the Single-use plastic products strategy for Malta.


Documents related to abovementioned Strategy: