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Customers must pay for plastic cups and containers (disposable plastic)

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONederlandse versie

Do you sell food and drinks? For takeaway, delivery, or in a shop? If you provide these products in disposable plastic cups and containers, your customer must pay for them. Or you must offer your customer a reusable alternative, for a deposit.

Your customers must pay for disposable plastic cups and containers if they collect or have food delivered (for example, takeaway and delivery restaurants, food trucks, kiosks, supermarkets, and retailers). If customers eat or drink at your premises, they do not have to pay for plastic cups and containers. Paying for disposable plastic is meant to reduce litter.

For which plastic cups and containers must your customer pay?

  • Plastic cups: all single-use plastic cups. This includes cups that only partly consist of plastic. For example, paper coffee cups with a plastic coating.
  • Plastic food packaging: plastic packaging from which food can be eaten directly, without further preparation. The packaging consists entirely or partly of plastic and is intended to be used only once. For example, a plastic dish containing French fries or a salad. Or small containers with portion packs, such as nuts, vegetables, and dairy products.

When can you give away containers and cups for free?

You are allowed to give away food and drinks containers (including cups) for free only if they are:

  • reusable cups and containers (even if they contain plastic)
  • bags, foils, and wraps (flexible packaging)
  • containers and cups without plastic, such as wood or paper

Offering reusable alternatives or bring your own

You must offer your customers a reusable alternative, such as a cup or container that they can return later. You can offer these for free or for a deposit. Alternatively, you can accept containers and cups brought by the customer (bring your own). If the customer brings their own container or cup, they are responsible for the hygiene of the food from the moment they accept it. You can refuse a brought container or cup if you have reason to believe it is not clean.

How much should your customer pay for a plastic cup or container?

You can choose the amount your customer must pay for a plastic disposable cup or meal container. The guidelines are:

  • € 0,25 for a cup
  • € 0,50 for a meal that can consist of multiple containers
  • € 0,05 for containers with single servings of vegetables, fruit, yoghurt, spreads, or sauce

You have to add the amount you receive for the plastic cups and containers separately on the bill. The VAT rate you have to pay over the amount you get for the packaging, depends on the contents of the container. For example for a disposable plastic cup for coffee or soda this the low VAT rate (9%), but for a cup of beer, for instance, you pay the rate for alcoholic beverages, which is 21%.

Information for you and your customers

You can use posters (in Dutch) to inform your customers on the new rules. You can also find communication tools and factsheets (in Dutch) on a dedicated government website.

Exception for recycling

If you have a collection system for high-quality recycling of plastic cups and containers, the ban on free plastic cups and containers does not apply. High-quality recycling means collecting the cups and containers and reusing them as packaging material for food or drinks after recycling. The exception applies only if you collect at least 75% (in 2024), and the percentage increases each year to 90% in 2027. If you want to use the exception to the disposable ban, you must report it through the notification scheme for single-use plastic products (in Dutch). You must also register the weight quantity you supply to your customers and you must register the weight quantity you deliver to waste collector and recycler.

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