The infrastructure ministry may require businesses benefiting from single use plastic price hikes to spend the profits on environmental causes following complaints by green groups.
The new rules, which came into effect on July 1, means fast food outlets are charging customers up to 25 cents more for a single-use plastic cup and up to 50 cents more for a plastic container or plate. Supermarkets are also charging more for plastic packaging for food that can be eaten on the spot.
Environmental organisations have said the system is flawed because the extra charge will mostly help businesses make extra profit which they can spend at will.
“In practice supermarkets and food outlets will charge just enough to not lose custom and have a nice profit margin. They are not being encouraged to invest that money in reusable alternatives,” Karl Beerenfenger of Mission Reuse told the Telegraaf. “In this way consumers carry the responsibility and the costs for the scheme, and that can’t be right.”
The way profits are spent may now change, a spokesman for the infrastructure ministry told Dutch News.
“It is true that there is nothing in the regulation as it currently stands about a requirement [for businesses to plow back profits into environmental causes]. That could change at the next evaluation which is coming up soon. It is certainly something that will be looked at,’ he said.
Every day 19 million plastic cups and takeaway food packages are thrown away in the Netherlands, according to government figures. The aim of the new rules is to reduce the use of single use plastic by 40% by 2026.
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