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Here’s why you’ll soon need to pay extra for that plastic to-go cup in the Netherlands

Love to pick up a coffee on your way to work or an order of frietjes on a day out? From  July 1, that might cost you a little extra as the Netherlands stops free plastic disposable utensils for to-go food and drinks. 

Starting this summer, there will be a small surcharge for disposable utensils and packaging made with plastic such as coffee cups and plates for fries. Some to-go places may instead start using reusable utensils and charge a small deposit, reports RTL Nieuws

READ MORE | Climate change has the Netherlands in hot water: here’s what you should know

This is part of an effort to reduce single-use plastic waste in the Netherlands where 19 million plastic disposable cups are thrown away every day.

European ban on single-use plastics

This Dutch move is part of a wider European strategy, the Single Use Plastics Directive, to decrease plastic waste in our environment — specifically the 10 most commonly found single-use plastic items on Europe’s beaches.

Since July 2021, disposable straws, cutlery, plates, cotton swabs, and balloon sticks are already no longer allowed to be placed on the market.

New options for food and drinks packaging 

This new rule does mean a pretty big change to what we’re used to. Starting this July, these will now be your options when you’re in the mood for a frietbakjes (plate of fries), a burger, or a coffee:

  • Get non-plastic disposable packaging (for example, out of cardboard or paper cones)
  • Pay a deposit for reusable packaging that you must return
  • Pay a surcharge for disposable plastic packaging
  • Bring your own reusable coffee cup from home (and pay nothing!)

Surcharge and deposit price

Each business will choose how much they charge, but the Dutch government advises between €0.05 to €0.50 for disposable plastic products, depending on if it’s a prepackaged fruit or a whole takeaway meal. 

Meanwhile, deposits for reusable cups will vary between €0.25 to €1. 

READ MORE | 11 ways to live waste-free in the Netherlands

Research has shown that a €0.25 incentive would be enough to effectively reduce plastic consumption, and the Dutch ban on free plastic bags resulted in a whopping 70% reduction in plastic bags being used.

Needless to say, both businesses and consumers will have to get used to this big change in the food industry. Coffee lovers, you may want to start getting prepared now and make some space in your bag for your new reusable cup!

What do you think about the proposed change? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Feature Image:Freepik
Naomi Lamaury
Naomi Lamaury
Naomi came to the Netherlands four years ago for her studies with two suitcases and without ever having been to the country or knowing much about it. Now, you can find her eating ‘bitterballen’ and fighting against the Dutch wind on her bike every day like a local. Naomi enjoys writing about what is going on around her alongside a warm cup of coffee.


  1. I heartily approve of banning plastic. We in the US are not charging for plastic bags. We should be using reusable ones. The US is a throwaway culture.


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