Will I have to pay for disposable plastic cups and containers?
From 1 July 2023, consumers will have to pay for disposable cups and containers containing plastic. Or a reusable alternative must be used. Businesses will then also have to accept customers' own reusable cups and containers or offer them themselves. For on-site consumption (e.g. at a festival or in an office), disposable cups and containers containing plastic will be banned from 1 January 2024.
This is one of the measures against disposable plastic and litter (in Dutch). The Government of the Netherlands wants to ensure that people use reusable cups, plates and bowls more often, resulting in less litter, and that more plastic can be recycled.
Consequences for consumers
Consumers will soon pay extra for disposable plastic tableware. This applies, for instance, if you get a coffee at the train station, pick up some friet from the snack bar, buy a salad in the supermarket or grab a pre-packed sandwich at the petrol station. Even if you have food delivered, you will pay extra for disposable plastic cups and containers.
So bring your own cup or container for your tea or coffee, snack or meal. Or use the reusable variety offered by businesses. This is better for the environment and for your wallet.
The cost is up to the shop or business. The government advises to charge €0.05 to €0.25 extra, depending on the product (see below). These costs will soon appear separately on your receipt. That way, as a consumer, you can immediately see how much extra you are paying and therefore how much you can save if you choose reusable tableware.
Pre-packaged food and drinks
In the retail sector (e.g. at a supermarket or food outlet), the rules also apply to some packaging made of plastic that:
• is a cup or container as a single portion;
• contain products that you can eat or drink straight away. For example, a cup of yoghurt, a plate of salad, pre-packaged iced coffee or a portion of vegetables, fruit, snack or ice cream.
For pre-packaged food and drinks, businesses do not have to offer a reusable alternative.
Packaging without plastic is not covered by these rules, and you do not have to pay extra for this packaging either:
• bags and wrappers (flexible packaging)
• packaging containing food that requires further preparation, e.g. defrosting or reheating
• pre-packed food containing 2 portions or more.
Please note that you do pay extra for paper cups and containers with a plastic coating to stop leakages.
Consequences for businesses
Businesses must offer the following options from 1 July 2023:
• reusable cups and containers that can be returned, for which a deposit can be charged;
• fill your own cup or container;
• offer disposable cups and containers with plastic in them only against payment.
Prices of plastic tableware
Businesses can decide how much money they charge for a cup or container containing plastic. Government guidelines are:
• €0.25 for a cup;
• €0.50 for a meal (a meal can consist of several containers);
• €0.05 for pre-packed vegetables, fruit, nuts and portion packs for e.g. toppings or sauce.
The cost of disposable cups and trays must be shown separately by businesses on the receipt. For clarity, the government advises businesses to mark it on the receipt as 'plastic product' or more specifically as 'plastic cup' and 'plastic container'. However, the extra charge may have a different name on the receipt.
More information on disposable plastic regulations for businesses can be found in English on the business.gov.nl website.
This article is a translation of Moet ik betalen voor plastic wegwerpbekers en –bakjes? from the rijksoverheid.nl website as this information is not yet available in English.