The deadline for implementing in Poland the so-called Single Use Plastics Directive of the European Parliament passed on July 3 this year. What does it mean in practice for Polish restaurateurs? Is it true that plastic gastronomy packages are banned and that serving meals in them is punished with heavy fees? According to the EU regulations such should be the consequences, although the Polish law has not yet been adapted to them. However, the works on the act are in progress, so it is worth starting to prepare for the introduction of ecological equivalents of burger packaging or wrap packaging.
What type of takeaway packaging should be phased out?
The order to withdraw environmentally unfriendly packaging enforced by the European Parliament decision concerns mainly products marked with PS symbol. This indicates that they contain polystyrene, which is harmful not only to the ecosystem, but also to human health. Popular Styrofoam packaging for chicken, fish, burgers or other dishes is nothing but PS in a foamed form.
Contact of this substance with hot food, fat, or acids causes the release of dangerous toxins. It is therefore advisable to stop packaging food in this type of catering packaging. Polystyrene content is also recorded in disposable cutlery, plates, stirrers, straws or cups and lids. This group of products is also banned from sale. Similarly as other catering products marked with PET, OPS and PP symbols. Or rather, it will be, when the Polish law adjusts the regulations to the requirements of the European law. When can we expect it?
The Plastics Directive and Polish law – when will the regulations come into force?
A draft law banning plastic food packaging and other such products for catering is being prepared by the Ministry of Climate and Environment. It will probably be submitted to the Parliament in autumn, or next year. This means that penalties for non-compliance with the directive threaten the Polish government, not the restaurant owners. The deadline for the introduction of relevant regulations by our legislature passed on July 3 this year.
Therefore, the catering industry does not bear legal responsibility, only moral. For this reason at least, it is worth starting today to implement alternative solutions to plastic. There are plenty of them.
What instead of plastic? Ecological gastronomic packaging box.
Change is inevitable. It’s not just about EU pressure, but a real threat to the balance of the ecosystem caused by the mass of trash lying in the oceans. It is estimated that one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the sea every minute. I don’t think anyone, whether ordering or serving take-out food, wants to contribute to this any longer.
Especially since manufacturers are racing to come up with new ideas for eco-friendly takeaway packaging box or wrap packaging. The simplest of these is paper and cardboard. However, while cardboard burger packaging, or wrap packaging will find its use, pasta with sauce requires a bit more advanced technology, because the paper will simply get wet during transport. For food such as soups or sauces bamboo bowls are perfect, which do not contaminate food with toxins at higher temperatures. And if plastic is to be used in restaurants, it should be only with the R-PET symbol, i.e. obtained as a result of recycling PET plastic bottles.