Evasive behavior regarding plastic reuse regulations
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Evasive behavior regarding plastic reuse regulations

  • 30 October 2023

The pressure on the government's objectives to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment is ramping up. Despite regulations being in place for over two years to achieve this goal, the Environmental and Transport Inspection Agency (ILT) notes that many businesses are sidestepping these rules, especially concerning the recycling of plastic for beverage and food packaging. The ILT has identified a lack of proactive measures by many companies in cutting down on plastic usage. These findings have been documented in a report handed over to Deputy Minister Heijen of Infrastructure and Water Management, which was subsequently forwarded to the House of Representatives.

While the actions of these companies may not be technically illegal, they are certainly not desirable. They contradict the essence of the legislation aimed at curbing plastic pollution in the environment. To paint a picture: every day in the Netherlands, 19 million disposable plastic cups and containers, along with 4.5 million plastic bottles, are discarded. The environmental impact remains significant as long as the production of disposable plastics and their presence in litter doesn't significantly decrease.

Evasive behavior

The ILT feels handcuffed in the face of this evasive behavior from businesses. There are three primary tactics businesses employ to dodge the regulations. Firstly, companies are increasingly opting for alternative plastic packaging that isn't subject to the new regulations that took effect on July 1, 2023. This results in customers paying extra for certain food packages, while other types remain unaffected. Secondly, companies are exploiting loopholes in the law. For instance, while there is a deposit on cans and plastic bottles, this isn't the case for drink cartons that also contain plastic, leading manufacturers to increasingly shift to these cartons. Lastly, some businesses make only minor tweaks to their products, branding them as reusable, even though they're often used just once in reality.

For a more detailed overview and further information on this topic, one can refer to the report titled ''Signaalrapportage Bedrijven ontwijken regels voor hergebruik van plastic drank- en voedselverpakkingen'. This report was published In Dutch by the Environmental and Transport Inspection Agency on October 24, 2023.

Source: Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport