New rules on plastic packaging come into effect in the Netherlands on July 1 to tackle plastic waste from the takeaway food industry, and that means prices are likely to rise, website Nu.nl reported on Wednesday.
From next week, cafes, petrol stations, supermarkets and restaurants will no longer be able to sell takeaway food in plastic packaging without charging an additional fee. As an alternative, they can use more environment-friendly options or ask customers to bring their own pots.
So far, most food outlets are planning to charge customers a fee for a plastic cup or box because of logistical problems, Nu.nl said. And the rule that outlets must either offer reusable packaging as an alternative or to let consumers bring their own pots and cups, is likely to be widely ignored.
“We stimulate reuse where possible but it has to remain feasible for customers,” a spokesman for Dutch market leader Albert Heijn said.
Fast food firm McDonalds, which already uses a lot of cardboard packaging, told Nu.nl it could not accept customers’ own cups for a milkshake for hygiene reasons. Instead, the company will charge a 25-cent supplement for a disposable cup or €1 for a reusable one – in line with government guidelines.
Petrol station lobby group Beta said the rules are being brought in with the best of intentions but “are not exactly practical” while Frans van Rooij, director of snack bar organisation ProFri said no one will want to walk around with a dirty pot in their bag. “We back every effort there is to cut environmental damage but this is missing its target,” he said.
Eat on the spot
The new rules affect all plastic packaging for food and drinks which can be eaten on the spot without further preparation, such as being warmed up.
The government has recommended a five-cent charge for small portions of fruit, vegetables and nuts or sauce, 25 cents for a plastic cup and 50% for a meal box. The fees must be displayed on receipts.
Every day 19 million plastic cups and takeaway food packages are thrown away in the Netherlands, according to government figures.
The new measures stem from European legislation covering single-use plastic and will be tightened up further in 2024.
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