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New laws in the Netherlands for disposable cups effective from January 1st, 2024

Jun 14, 2024

As environmental sustainability takes center stage in regulatory frameworks across Europe, the Netherlands has introduced stringent new laws targeting single-use plastics (SUPs). Effective from July 1, 2023, and January 1, 2024, these regulations aim to drastically reduce the use of disposable cups, bowls and other single-use products containing plastic, urging both takeout establishments and events like festivals, concerts and sports matches to adopt more sustainable practices.

For event organizers and brewers, this legislative shift presents both a challenge and an opportunity. While the laws primarily target SUPs, they inadvertently highlight another looming issue: the unchecked use of cardboard cup holders, which despite being non-plastic, contribute significantly to event waste. This gap in regulation necessitates innovative solutions like The Original Cupkeeper, a durable, eco-friendly drink holder alternative designed to curb litter and enhance sustainable branding.

In this post, we’ll delve into the specifics of the new Dutch regulations, explore their broader implications, and discuss how event organizers and brewers can seamlessly transition to more sustainable practices. Additionally, we will highlight the challenges posed by cardboard drink carriers and introduce The Original Cupkeeper as an excellent, sustainable alternative that aligns with the goals of these new laws. By understanding and adapting to these changes, you can not only comply with the regulations but also lead the way in promoting environmental responsibility and cleaner, greener events.

Overview of the European Commission’s SUP Directive and the Netherlands’ Response

In 2019, the European Union launched an ambitious directive aimed at tackling the pervasive issue of plastic waste. The Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive is a cornerstone in the EU’s strategy to reduce plastic pollution and foster a circular economy. We’ve described the EU’s SUP Directive in detail in this blog post.

The directive serves as a robust framework for Member States, who are free to tailor their legislative approaches to meet these overarching goals.

In alignment with the EU’s SUP Directive, the Netherlands has introduced comprehensive regulations to dramatically reduce the use of single-use plastics. These new laws, rolled out in two phases, reflect a strong commitment to environmental sustainability:

  1. Takeout Locations and Supermarkets (July 1, 2023)
    Customers are required to pay for disposable cups and bowls containing plastic or use a reusable alternative. This financial disincentive, similar to the one successfully used to reduce single-use plastic shopping bags, aims to reduce the reliance on SUPs and promote sustainable practices.
  2. On-Site Consumption (January 1, 2024)
    Disposable cups and bowls containing plastic are banned for on-site consumption. Establishments must adopt a circular system where cups and bowls are either reused. Alternatively, there is an exception on this ban, if you can comply with strict high quality recycling rules.

The regulations also differentiate between event types, imposing stricter measures on closed events and day attractions, such as music festivals and amusement parks. For open events, visitors must now pay for plastic-containing disposables and have access to reusable alternatives. Festivals and other closed events need to either remove SUP’s entirely or comply with very strict recycling targets.

While the primary focus is on reuse, there are provisions for high-quality recycling. In 2024, at least 70% of cups and bowls need to be collected for recycling, and this will increase yearly to 90% by 2027. Organizers must ensure that collected disposable items are recycled in a manner that allows them to be reused as food safe materials. This process is subject to strict European safety standards, and compliance requires prior notification to the relevant authorities. Currently, only PET can be recycled to a high enough standard for compliance.

These measures aim to reduce the use of disposable items by 40% by 2026 compared to 2022 levels, addressing the environmental impact of plastic waste and promoting a shift towards more sustainable consumption habits. However, the directive’s silence on cardboard drink carriers poses an additional challenge, highlighting the need for innovative solutions like The Original Cupkeeper to ensure a comprehensive approach to event sustainability.

The Challenge Posed by Cardboard Drink Holders

Even as the Netherlands takes significant strides towards reducing single-use plastics with its new regulations, a conspicuous gap remains for large events: the unchecked use of cardboard drink holders. While these carriers are not made of plastic, their environmental footprint and logistical implications are far from negligible.

  1. Environmental Impact
    Cardboard cup holders, while they don’t contain plastic, contribute substantially to event waste. Their widespread use at festivals, concerts, and various events leads to significant litter, often left scattered around venues. While cardboard can be recycled under optimal conditions, in reality, many of these items end up in landfills or as litter.
  2. Negative Branding Implications
    These carriers frequently bear the logos of brewers and event sponsors, inadvertently linking these brands with the waste left behind. This turns what should be a positive branding effort into a form of negative advertising, associating brands with environmental neglect rather than sustainability.
  3. Logistical Challenges
    Cardboard drink holders, while better than trying to carry many drinks by hand, are not as durable as their reusable counterparts. They can become soggy or damaged, making them less reliable for consumers and increasing the likelihood of them being discarded after a single use. The resulting litter not only mars the visual appeal of events but also increases clean-up costs and efforts.

Amidst the push for reducing SUPs, the continued use of cardboard drink carriers represents a significant oversight. With less waste overall, the remaining cardboard waste will stand out all the more. Addressing this issue is crucial for event organizers and brewers who are committed to truly sustainable practices.

Introducing The Original Cupkeeper: A Sustainable Reusable Drink Holder

The Original Cupkeeper offers a practical and innovative solution to the challenges posed by cardboard drink holders. Designed with sustainability, functionality, and aesthetics in mind, The Original Cupkeeper stands as a superior alternative for event organizers and brewers.

  1. Eco-Friendly Materials
    The Original Cupkeeper is made as much as possible from recycled polypropylene sourced from consumer waste, emphasizing its commitment to environmental responsibility. Unlike cardboard carriers, which often have a short lifespan, The Original Cupkeeper is designed for long-term use. After years of use, the material can be recycled once again, in line with the ideal of a circular economy.
  2. Durability and Functionality
    Our reusable cup holder is built to withstand the rigors of event environments, ensuring that it remains sturdy and reliable throughout its usage. Its innovative design allows it to collapse for easy storage and transportation, making it a practical choice for both event organizers and attendees.
  3. Positive Branding Opportunity
    By adopting The Original Cupkeeper, brands can turn a potential negative into a positive. With its sleek design and customizable branding options, The Original Cupkeeper serves as a walking billboard for sustainability. Attendees love to keep and reuse these carriers, extending the visibility of your brand beyond the event itself and associating it with eco-conscious practices.
  4. Enhanced Consumer Experience
    The reusability and aesthetic appeal of The Original Cupkeeper transform it from a mere drink carrier into a coveted souvenir. Attendees appreciate the convenience and durability, making them more inclined to reuse it, reducing event litter and promoting sustainability. In fact, many of our customers easily sell their Cupkeepers for a net profit at their bars.

Conclusion

As the Netherlands implements its new regulations on single-use plastics, event organizers and brewers face both a challenge and an opportunity. While the laws target plastic waste, the overlooked issue of cardboard drink holders requires our attention.

The Original Cupkeeper offers a sustainable, practical, and brand-enhancing alternative that addresses this gap effectively. By adopting The Original Cupkeeper, you can lead the charge in promoting environmental responsibility, ensuring that your events are not only compliant with new regulations but also exemplars of sustainable practice.

Join us in making every event a testament to a better, cleaner world with The Original Cupkeeper.

Reach out to us through our quote form or ask any questions through our contact page. We’re always happy to help.

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