For a change: 3x good news about our plastic use

For a change: 3x good news about our plastic use

We understand that you may sometimes feel a little discouraged by all the bad news about plastic and the climate. You may wonder if it's even worth it for you to keep bringing your own shopping bag to the store. And it definitely is! That's why, for a change, we're sharing some positive news to show what we can achieve together.

Introduction of deposit on plastic bottles seems to be working

During the latest autumn measurement of Clean Rivers, a large-scale river waste study that takes place every year, there was also good news to report for a change. In the fall of 2021, on average fewer small plastic bottles were found on the riverbanks, namely an average of 2 bottles per 100 meters of shore, compared to an average of 3 bottles per 100 meters in 2020. This decrease is likely due to the introduction of a deposit on plastic bottles on July 1, 2021.

Ban on plastic disposable cups and food packaging from 2024

In offices, catering establishments, and festivals, a tremendous amount of disposable plastic is still used. But that is finally going to change from 2024. We will also have to pay for the coffee cups we receive on the go. For consumption on the go and takeout, a fee for plastic disposable cups and meal packaging will apply from July 2023, on top of the price for the coffee or meal. And that's a good thing because did you know that in the Netherlands, we throw away 19 million plastic cups and food packaging items every day after single use? One day! It is urgently needed that we handle this more consciously and bring our own coffee cup, water bottle, or lunch box more often.

More and more options for packaging-free grocery shopping

Packaging-free grocery shopping seems to be becoming the new normal. While packaging-free grocery shopping was once a high exception, packaging-free alternatives are now popping up like mushrooms. Think, for example, of startup Pieter Pot, the packaging-free online supermarket that delivers groceries in glass jars. And even supermarket chain Albert Heijn is now introducing packaging-free grocery shopping. The new packaging-free range consists of 70 products, from breakfast cereals and sandwich spreads to dinner ingredients such as pasta and rice. Albert Heijn aims to use 20 million kilograms less packaging material by 2025, and this solution is part of that.

The first steps have been taken, but we can do even better

These beautiful initiatives and new rules to combat disposable plastic are of course a good step, but we can do even better. Nature organizations such as Greenpeace and Natuur & Milieu believe that more is needed for all of us to make the transition from disposable to reusable. Natuur & Milieu would like to see a general ban on disposable products for which a good reusable alternative exists. Think, for example, of companies where you can get takeaway food, where you will pay extra for the packaging from July 2023. If these companies decide to keep the surcharge for the packaging low, people will not be so quick to switch to a reusable alternative, such as bringing their own container. For a complete ban, the government is not yet going. But, what is not yet, may come! Behavior change takes time. Who knows, we may be much further along in 2024.
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