It’s just part of the plan to end plastic pollution.
Anyone who has walked through Amsterdam the day after an event will know how the streets fill with single-use plastics, like plastic cups, straws, and packaging. It’s not pleasant, and people wonder where it all goes after it’s been cleaned up. It’s not just the Netherlands that can become littered with these plastics. Plenty of it ends up in our rivers, flows into the sea, and can travel across continents.
So, this single-use plastic ban has been a long time coming, and it will change the way we use plastics in the Netherlands. The ban came into effect on July 3, so there will still be products on our supermarket shelves made of single-use plastics, but now that producers are barred from using such materials, the shelves will soon begin to look different.
Some examples of items that will be gone from our shelves are plastic straws, plastic cutlery, plates and cups. Q-tips will also have to be made from something else if they are to be sold in our supermarkets unless they are being used in the medical industry. Polystyrene is also out, as it can no longer be used to package food and drink. It’s a material that is notoriously bad for the environment.
The Netherlands is not the first country to have banned single-use plastics. Places like Canada have done without it for a couple of years now, and the ban in the Netherlands is part of the EU’s SUP guidelines. The SUP guidelines aim to reduce the amount of plastic pollution on land and in our oceans. So, next time you buy a takeaway you might notice that it’s packaged in different material instead of plastic, and things like metal straws are likely to become more widespread as an alternative to the plastic version. Only time will tell how effective the ban will be.