New SUP guidelines as of July 2023 and January 2024

The SUP guidelines aim to reduce the use of plastic-containing cups and food packaging in order to combat litter. Additionally, the ministry aims to increase public awareness. The first measures of the Single Use Plastics (SUP) legislation were implemented on July 3, 2021. This included a ban on the sale of various plastic disposable products, including plastic plates, cutlery, stirrers, and straws. These measures were just the beginning of the SUP legislation, which is divided into phases.

New guidelines will be introduced in July 2023 and January 2024. The new measures specifically apply to products that are fully or partially made of plastic. This includes items such as cardboard coffee cups, as they always have a thin plastic coating. The rules affect both the producers and suppliers of the packaging, as well as the consumers and end-users. In this overview, we will delve deeper into the measures that impact product consumers (such as hospitality entrepreneurs) and end-users.

  • Legislation for disposable products

    The new measures only apply to single-use products. For plastic-containing cups and food packaging that are suitable for reuse, nothing will change. It is important to be able to distinguish between single-use and reusable. The product must actually be reused by the end-user, and not just labeled as 'reusable' by the provider.

  • When is packaging reusable?

    There are several indicators to consider here. The reusable packaging must be able to be cleaned, washed, or repaired while maintaining its ability to be reused for its original purpose. Additionally, the packaging must be able to be emptied without being damaged. It should also be designed to undergo multiple cycles within its lifespan.

  • On-site consumption vs. on the go consumption

    The ministry distinguishes between consumption on the go and consumption on site for the new measures. Are you unsure about which situation applies to you? Check the overview here!

  • Consumption on the go

    For takeout and delivery, not much will change. There will be no ban on plastic-containing products, only the free distribution to consumers will no longer be allowed starting from July 2023. Similar to plastic bags, the provider will have to charge a small (self-determined) amount. Additionally, reusable alternatives or packaging brought by the consumer can also be used.

  • What is going to change?

    From July 2023, you are expected to:

    • Offer a reusable alternative
    • Allow consumers to bring their own packaging
    • Charge a small amount for the issuance of plastic-containing packaging.

    The non-binding indicative amounts for this are:

    €0.25 for a cup

    €0.50 for a meal

    (which can consist of multiple containers)

  • Consumption on site

    For on-site consumption, starting from January 2024, there will be a ban on the use of plastic-containing food packaging and cups, unless they are suitable for high-quality recycling. When we refer to "on-site," we mean places such as restaurants, cafés, offices, cinemas, etc. These establishments will have to choose between switching to reusable alternatives, packaging without plastic, or high-quality recyclable packaging.

  • What is going to change?

    From January 2024, you are expected to choose one or more of the following options:

    • Switching to disposable packaging without plastic
    • Using reusable alternatives
    • Utilizing high-quality recyclable alternatives.
  • For on-site consumption, businesses can also choose to continue using plastic-containing disposable cups and food packaging, provided that they collect a significant portion of them for high-quality recycling. In high-quality recycling, the waste is collected and processed, and then it must return as food contact material. The percentage that must be (demonstrably) collected will increase each year.

  • Exceptions

    An exception is made for healthcare institutions and prisons regarding the aforementioned measures. This is because the use of disposable cups and food packaging is often unavoidable due to cross-contamination, hygiene, and safety reasons. However, public areas within healthcare institutions, such as public restaurants, are subject to the measures.

  • Plastic-free alternatives

    Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives on the market that are completely free of plastic. Do you still want to continue using disposable packaging without having to charge a small amount or collect them for high-quality recycling? Replace your plastic-containing packaging with alternatives that are plastic-free.

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