Netherlands Single-Use Plastic Products Directive

The Netherlands has implemented measures in accordance with the EU Single-Use Plastic Directive to regulate the use of Single-Use Plastic Products. Aleeza Rai, Valpak International Account Manager, discusses the challenges associated with single-use plastics and highlights the steps taken by the Dutch Government to address this issue.

Each year around 380 million tonnes of plastic is produced, and it is estimated that 50% of that is single-use. Single-use plastic is not sustainable and can take hundreds of years to biodegrade if disposed of incorrectly. It also requires more resources to produce and transport in comparison to reusable products. Examples of single-use plastic include crisp packets, drink bottles, and carrier bags.


Life in plastic is not so fantastic

Every year, an estimated 11 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean. By 2050, it is believed that the amount of plastic in the ocean will exceed the number of fish. Plastic pollution has numerous detrimental impacts on the environment, wildlife, and health. For example, single-use plastic contributes to climate change by emitting greenhouse gases during production and disposal. Single-use plastic also creates pollution that harms ecosystems, and it releases harmful chemicals that affect hormone health. Plastic pollution is a global issue, and the Netherlands is no exception. 71% percent of the Dutch population want a ban on single-use plastics as soon as possible.

SUP Directive in the Netherlands

The Dutch Government has placed restrictions on the use of Single-Use Plastic Products under the EU Single-Use Plastic Directive (Directive 2019/904).

Plastic plates, straws, balloon holders, and oxo-degradable plastic, such as bags, bottles, and labels are among some of the items that have already been banned in the Netherlands.

Ban on free plastic single-use cups and containers

Around 19 million single-use plastic cups and containers are discarded each day, according to Dutch government sources. In order to combat this, the Netherlands has introduced a new law that bans the use of single-use cups and containers for take-out and delivery.

In July 2021, producers and importers in the Netherlands were no longer allowed to market products made of single-use plastics. The new ban, which came into force in July 2023, now also applies to businesses. This means that customers of an establishment can no longer be given plastic single-use cups or food containers free of charge and must be charged a separate fee in places that continue to use them. Customers may also be offered a reusable alternative, for a deposit. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management believes that this will result in a 40% decrease in the use of disposable plastics.

From 1 January 2024, customers will no longer be offered disposable plastic cups and containers in establishments.

Previous Successes

Previous plastic waste-reducing measures in the Netherlands have proven effective. Studies have also shown that consumers have become more aware of the implications of plastic since the enforcement of bans like this. For example, in 2016 the Netherlands imposed a bag on plastic carrier bags, which resulted in a 71% decrease in plastic bag usage, and a 40% decrease in resulting litter was observed.