Rules for single-use plastics unchanged, but without enforcement for the time being

Despite recently adopted motions in the House of Representatives, the new regulations for single-use plastics remain in effect. However, outgoing State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen of Infrastructure and Water Management has instructed the supervisory authority, the Inspection for the Living Environment and Transport (ILT), not to enforce compliance temporarily on a specific portion of these rules.

Friet in plastic bakje

Burdens for businesses and lack of clarity

The surcharge that businesses are allowed to pass on to customers quickly came under fire due to the significant burden it placed on companies and the lack of effective guidance from the government. Many snack bars and take-out establishments claim to have been inadequately informed about what awaited them with the introduction of the surcharge. Last year, the ILT already investigated the enforceability of the rules and concluded that they were too unclear and complicated for effective compliance. There was criticism of the lack of clarity and the fact that the rules tended towards symbolic legislation.

ILT suggested that a simple ban on single-use plastic would be more effective than attempting to discourage it with complex rules. The hospitality industry and environmental organizations shared this criticism, pointing out the ambiguity surrounding the surcharge. The absence of a minimum amount and loopholes in the system, such as charging only one cent for disposable cups or containers, were emphasized. This does not encourage customers at all to bring reusable packaging.

Adopted motions in the House of Representatives

One of the adopted motions calls for ending the plastic surcharge that people must pay when they opt for disposable cups or containers with plastic while on the go.

The other two motions relate to expanding the exception for disposable cups for on-site consumption. From January 1, 2024, the use of plastic-containing cups and packaging for on-site consumption, such as in eateries, offices, and cinemas, will no longer be allowed. The Dutch government emphasizes the importance of plastic reuse (or the use of plastic-free packaging) and adopts a strict approach in this regard. Recently, however, a motion has been adopted indicating that cups containing a maximum of 5 percent plastic and fully recyclable can still be used after January 1. This motion also asks the cabinet not to enforce violations until the official rules are amended.

Important update in rules for single-use plastic: No plastic surcharge for now!

On December 14, 2023, outgoing State Secretary Heijnen decided that the rules for plastic-containing packaging will remain in place, but enforcement will be temporarily suspended for a part of the rules. As a business owner, you can still charge an additional fee for single-use plastic for consumption on the go. However, the ILT will temporarily not enforce this mandatory surcharge from January 1. As a business owner, you are still required to offer a reusable alternative or accept that customers bring their own reusable containers or cups. The ILT can enforce this.

The ILT will also not enforce on-site consumption for cups and containers that consist of a maximum of 5% plastic, are collected according to the specified percentages, and can be 100% recycled. If you, as a business owner, want to continue using such cups and containers, more information about recycling and collection conditions will follow soon.

Source (Dutch site)

Source (Dutch site)

Sustainable alternatives for your packaging

In 2024, the regulations will be evaluated, so we recommend visiting our website regularly for the latest updates on laws and regulations. This way, you'll always stay well-informed and in line with the latest developments.

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