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New EU wet wipes requirements

The EU Commission published on 18 December 2020 the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2151, laying down harmonised marking requirements on single-use plastic products listed in Part D of the Annex to the EU Single Use Plastics Directive 2019/904.

Single-use plastic products covered by Article 7 on marking requirements:

  • 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.

As you can see above, among the products listed in Part D are also wet wipes. Wet wipes sold in the EU and with a surface area of 10 cm2 or more, will have to bear an additional marking, which states that the product contains plastics and should not be flushed due to potential danger to the marine environment.

Harmonised marking specifications are stated in COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2020/2151 in Annex II.

Let's check harmonised marking specifications for wet wipes ...

1. Packaging of wet wipes (i.e. pre-wetted personal care and domestic wipes), with the surface area of 10 cm2 or more, shall bear the following printed marking:

2. The marking shall comply with the requirements laid down in this point.

(a) Position of the marking: The marking shall be placed horizontally on the external front or top surface, whichever is more clearly visible, of the packaging.

(b) Size of the marking: The marking shall be composed of two equal-sized red and blue boxes, which are placed next to each other, and a rectangular black box containing the information text ‘PLASTIC IN PRODUCT’ placed below the two equal-sized boxes. The ratio between the height and length of the marking shall be 1:2, with minimum resolution of 300 dots per inch.

The marking shall be bordered by a thin white line. The information text ‘PLASTIC IN PRODUCT’ shall be in upper case and in Helvetica Bold font. The font size shall be a minimum of 5 pt and a maximum of 14 pt.

The information text of the marking shall be written in the official language or languages of the Member State(s) where the single-use plastic product is placed on the market.

This Regulation entered into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (from 8 January 2021) and it applies in all EU Member States from 3 July 2021.

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