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If you manufacture in or import into the Netherlands packed or packaging products, you are responsible for managing the packaging until the waste phase (producer responsibility). You must comply with the regulations from the 2014 Packaging Management Decree (Besluit Beheer Verpakkingen). These obligations also apply to showroom packaging which bears your name and logo. The obligations are:
- You are required to pay for and organise the collection and recycling of packaging.
- The percentage of materials used for packaging that you must (have) recycle(d), must increase each calender year. In 2015 45% of the plastic packaging and 31% of the wood packaging by weight must be recycled; in 2022 this should be 52 and 45% respectively.
- You are required to take prevention measures to:
- minimise the amount of packaging material
- facilitate the recycling of the packaging
- maximise the amount of recycled material used in new packaging
- minimise the amount of litter produced.
- If you add 50,000 kilos or more of packaging material to the market every year, you must produce an annual report setting out the results for the previous year by 31 July at the latest. You can request a Report Form (Verslagleggingsformulier) to use for this purpose from the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT).
- You must observe the general packaging requirements.
Takeaway packaging (i.e. last-minute packaging) is provided by shopkeepers to consumers and includes carrier bags, paper bags, chip trays, gift wrap and packing paper. Shopkeepers who provide takeaway packaging bearing their name or logo are subject to the same obligations as apply to producers and importers. Shopkeepers who do not provide takeaway packaging bearing their name or logo need only to adhere to the prevention measures referred to above.
Ban on free plastic carrier bags
You are no longer allowed to provide your customers with free plastic carrier bags. However, in some cases, for instance when the bag is 15 microns thick or less or when the bag is meant for protecting food, the ban does not apply. For other plastic bags you must charge a suggested fee of €0.25. An alternative would be to provide your customer with a reusable bag made from sustainable materials.
Packaging of food products
The Packaging and Materials (Commodities Act) Decree (Warenwetbesluit verpakking en gebruiksartikelen) establishes rules for packaging and materials that come into contact with food. The rules address such issues as the types of packaging materials permitted and the condition of the packaging. The packaging must show proper quantity information, which may not be misleading. This could be the net quantity, with or without the e-mark.
Extended producer reponsibility
Recycling and waste management are priority topics for the EU, and the coming years will see a shift towards extended producer responsibility and recycling of waste. You can find more information on these ambitions on the Rijkswaterstaat Environment website.