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A milk carton with a new tethered cap. Muiris O'Cearbhaill/The Journal
tethered caps

What's with these new lids? It's the EU's next step to cut down on single-use plastics

The new bottle design makes consumers dispose of the container and the cap at the same time.

REMEMBER PLASTIC STRAWS? Well wave goodbye to ‘untethered caps’ as the same EU law that made it so we had to use paper straws is now coming after our lids.

The EU Directive on single-use plastics encourages citizens to cut down and properly dispose of plastic materials. In 2019, the first enforcement of this directive came in when the Government decided State bodies would no longer purchase single-use plastic.

As well as cutting down on their use, the directive, adopted in 2019 and lay out guidelines and timelines to member states to adopt and create new laws, aims to change how plastic products are designed. 

In the case of the plastic caps, which according to the EU are discarded on “most of the beaches in the Union”, this meant making it so that you must dispose of the bottle and the cap together.

To tackle the vast amount of plastic lids that are not properly disposed of in the EU, the directive sets out that companies must fulfil specific product design requirements so that the cap and the bottle are discarded together.

Metal and glass containers are exempt from the EU guidelines.

Companies, namely Coca-Cola, introduced their new design earlier this year and began rolling out the new bottles in February. By May, the Wall Street Journal had reported that the new bottle caps keep “hitting soda drinkers in the face“.

The soft drinks company claimed that the new design was part of their ‘World Without Waste journey’. The announcement came just a few weeks ahead of this phase of the EU directive coming into force.

The directive does intend to go further, banning plastic sticks for balloons, reduce the use of plastic food containers – especially for fruit in supermarkets – and an outright ban on single-use cotton buds.

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