As of this week, producers and importers in the Netherlands may no longer market certain products made of single-use plastic. These include cutlery, plates, and straws. You are still permitted to sell existing stocks if you own a store, wholesaler, or hospitality venue. The new law is part of the EU’s Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive and the Guidelines, which were adopted back in June 2019.
The aim of the SUP is to prevent and reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, in particular the aquatic environment, and on human health, as well as to promote the transition to a circular economy with innovative and sustainable business models, products and materials. The Directive should be transposed into national law and applied as of 3 July 2021.
More than 80% of marine litter items are plastics. Plastic accumulates in seas, oceans and on beaches in the EU and worldwide. Plastic residues are harmful to the marine life and biodiversity and are found in marine species – such as sea turtles, seals, whales and birds, but also in fish and shellfish, and finally in the human food chain.
Plastics are a convenient, useful and valuable material, but they ought to be used in a different way. When littered, plastics cause environmental damage and negatively impacts our economy, both in terms of lost economic value in the material, and the costs of cleaning up and losses for tourism, fisheries and shipping. With the European Green Deal, the EU is creating a circular economy where plastics are used in more sustainable ways, re-used and recycled, without creating waste or pollution.
The single-use plastic ban applies to the following:
- Products made of oxo degradable synthetics
- Balloon rods (except for professional uses)
- Cotton tips (except for use in the medical industry)
- Polysterene foam food containers and drink containers, as well as cups
- Straws (except if they’re for medical use)
It might take a while before the usage of single-use plastic is completely phased out. While the ban went into effect on July 3rd, producers, catering, shops, etc., are allowed to sell or use up their existing stock.
The single-use plastic products that continue to be sold will, from now on, be labelled in such a way that consumers know those products contain plastics. The labelling will also show how to responsibly dispose of the product and the negative effects for the environment of not doing so.