Netherlands slow to raise awareness of single-use plastic ban

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The Netherlands has failed to master EU legislation banning single-use forms of plastic, according to a report by environmental activists.

Three organisations, Seas at Risk, Surfrider Europe and Zero Waste Europe, have released a report summarizing the progress made in the EU to implement the Single Use Plastics Directive.

The directive prohibits certain plastic items that are used and thrown away, and which have alternatives that are readily available and less damaging to the environment. It includes straws, cotton swabs, wet wipes and food containers, and aims to reduce pollution on European beaches and waters.

Although the decision came into force on January 1, 2022, the report says some countries are “laggards” in introducing local legislation, others are “unambitious” and some have “adopted measures or exemptions damaging”.

red mark

The report praises the approach of countries such as France, Luxembourg, Sweden and Ireland. Although the Netherlands scores well on bans, product marking and separate collection points, it gets a red mark for not reducing the consumption of single-use plastics.

Overall, the country’s adoption of the measures is “in progress or incomplete”, according to the report – well behind neighboring France.

“Countries like the Netherlands tend to focus their awareness efforts on influencing consumer behavior towards less waste, which is a fairly conservative approach to SUP awareness. [single use plastics]given that users at large should be targeted, including public administrations and small and large businesses,” the report notes.

Cigarettes

Although he calls the country a “laggard” when it comes to overall awareness, he praises campaigns such as the annual cigarette butt collection. Cigarette butts also contain plastic, and some MPs and environmental activists in the Netherlands have advocated a ban.

Meanwhile, a deposit system for small plastic bottles, introduced this year, is said to have increased recycling by around 80%.

Larissa Copello, campaigner for Zero Waste Europe, said in a press release that more can be done in the EU to ensure polluters pay: “The requirement for producers to cover certain costs for a range of plastics for has been a big step forward. However, it seems to be the most troublesome measure, with many countries lagging behind. Correct implementation is crucial to achieving the ‘polluter pays’ principle, ensuring that producers bear 100% of the cost of cleaning up discarded single-use plastic items.”

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