01 December 2023, by Emily Proctor

The Netherlands is set to introduce a ban on disposable cups at coffee machines in places such as office spaces and sports canteens, but just one month before the new rule is set to come into effect, lobbyists from the packaging industry are calling the ban into question. 

The Netherlands set to ban disposable cups in January 2024

The Netherlands is to oversee a ban on the use of single-use cups in January 2024, which will cover places such as offices, sports canteens, festivals and catering establishments. The idea is for these spaces to use washable coffee mugs, plates and cutlery, with care institutions being the only organisations that have an exemption. 

The ban on disposable cups comes as part of an EU-wide push to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced in the trade bloc. This includes the so-called “plastic tax” that was introduced in the Netherlands in July 2023 – where diners have to pay a surcharge on items such as plastic takeaway boxes. 

Scrapping disposable cups in the Netherlands leads to many business changes

Opponents of the ban on disposable cups cite issues such as having to hire people or purchase machines to clean dishes, and companies that produce disposable cups are naturally concerned about going out of business altogether. 

Back in October, lobbyists in favour of retaining disposable cups managed to convince the Dutch House of Representatives to adopt motions to keep single-use cups in the Netherlands, which was a blow to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management which announced the rules a year ago.

While the impact of the motion is currently unclear, especially considering the chamber that approved the reversal has changed following the recent Dutch general election, the ministry must now consider what to do in response. For the time being the ban is set to stay and come into force in January.

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