Regulation on plastic and disposable cups

Starting from 2020 it will be prohibited to serve drinks in disposable cups, cans and bottles made out of PET during all types of events - from school recitals to big-scale festivals. Soda’s will have to be bought in glass bottles or they will have to be tapped using post mix systems. Subsequently they will have to be served to visitors in reusable cups. The same story goes for all types of beer.

If however you persist on using disposable cups during your event, you have to collect 90% (and 95% starting from 2022 ) of the plastic material and you will also have to provide the evidence that you did so. Years of experience and several projects have shown that frontstage sorting stations don’t do the trick. A deposit system on the other hand can help to purify the waste streams backstage.

Events organised by government institutions

Local governments (provinces, provincial companies, municipalities, municipal companies and intermunicipal partnerships), the Flemish government institutions and the Flemish agencies (Sport Vlaanderen, De Lijn…) are bound by specific rules. In this particular context municipalities are considered to be the city hall, the library and the technical service. Educational institutions, hospitals and other healthcare companies are not included in this case.

Starting from 2020 it will be prohibited for government institutions to use disposable cups for their own day-to-day functioning, meaning drinking fountains and coffee machines must offer reusable cups or mugs. Beverages in cans or PET bottles can no longer be offered to visitors or employees. Employees however are allowed to bring these items from their home, but they have to dispose of them in the appropriate recycling bin.

Government institutions are also prohibited to serve drinks in disposable cups, cans and bottles made out of PET to their visitors during events. Soda’s will have to be bought in glass bottles or will have to be tapped using post mix systems. Subsequently they will have to be served to visitors in reusable cups. The same story goes for all types of beer.

Which are considered to be governmental events?

When talking about governmental events, we’re talking about events where the local authorities can decide themselves on the catering facilities during the event. Events hosted by governments like carnivals and markets where food and drink stands are hosted by different merchants, are not considered governmental events.

Is it allowed to serve drinks in reusable cups? Is the use of single use packaging allowed (cans, PET bottles, single use glass...)?
Events hosted by others than government institutions No, unless the organizer sets up a system that guarantees at least 90% of the cups are collected separately and subsequently recycled (95% starting from 2022) No, unless the organizer sets up a system that guarantees at least 90% of the packaging materials are collected separately and subsequently recycled (95% starting from 2022)
Events hosted by government institutions No No
In office buildings of government institutions No No

European rules

Objectives have also been set at European level with regard to catering material. The SUP Directive is specifically about single-use plastics and must be included in Member States' policies by 2021. The directive contains obligations on foodstuffs that sometimes go beyond Flemish legislation. In addition to a significant reduction in plastic cups, plastic cutlery, plates, straws and stirrers will be banned. Organizers and governments are already anticipating this.

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