The Single-Use Plastics Directive entered into force on 3 July 2019 and Member States had two years to transpose the legislation into national law in order for the obligations under the Directive to start being applied on the ground.

However, not all member states, including Portugal, transposed the directive within the deadline, and the EU executive sent 16 letters of formal notice in January.

Nine of them have not yet communicated all the measures necessary to ensure the full transposition of the Directive into their national law, and reasoned opinions have therefore been sent today.

If Portugal does not report the full transposition of the Directive within the new two-month deadline, Brussels may take the case to the EU Court of Justice.

According to a European Commission press release, single-use plastic products are accumulating in seas, oceans and beaches and while plastic is a convenient, useful and valuable material, plastic waste causes environmental damage and has a negative impact on the economy.

Over 80% of marine litter is made up of plastics which cause damage to the environment particularly and directly harming marine life and birds and which, when fragmented into microplastics, can also enter the human food chain.