Don’t be a litterbug, use your own mug, says environmental organisation


A 25 cent charge for disposable plastic and paper coffee cups should discourage their use and prevent some three billion of them ending up in the environment each year, according to environmental organisation Schone Rivieren (clean rivers).

The organisation, which has been carrying out twice-yearly cleaning up operations of the Dutch river banks since 2017, records the nature and the origin of the waste found.

At the last count, between mid February and mid March, volunteers found 200,000 items of waste at 512 places along the rivers including 1,800 disposable cups.

Schone Rivieren has also started a public awareness campaign aimed at those who have their coffee on the hoof.  ‘It really is very simple. The standard contents of your bag are your keys, purse, phone and, for now, a face mask. Why not lead by example and have your coffee or tea-to-go poured into your own mug?’, spokeswoman Anne Stolk told broadcaster NOS

Some 84% of the waste found on the river banks consisted of plastic, including six types of single use plastics, such as cotton buds and plastic cutlery.  A ban on a number of single use products will become effective from July 3 but shops and manufacturers will be allowed to sell off existing stock.

‘A ban is the most powerful weapon against plastic waste. What isn’t produced can’t end up in the environment. But we have a very long way to go,’ Stolk said.

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