Europe takes an important step towards zero waste



 The European parliament decided in October 2018 on banning single-use plastics from the EU starting latest 2021. 
Single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery or straws make up over 70% of marine litter. Because of their slow rate of decomposition, plastics pollute our oceans and environment.  

Now the EU decided to ban these products from the EU markets from 2021. In addition, plastic items with no alternative uses need to be reduced by at least 25% by 2025 and other products like bottles need to be collected and recycled at a rate of 90% by 2025. 

As the European Commission reported, EU citizens produce approx. 26m tons of plastic trash of which less than 30 % is collected for further use. Up to 85% of all trash washed up on European shores is made of plastic. Half of that are single-use items.

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 Greenpeace and other critics are still not satisfied with these new regulations. There are too many loopholes for companies. For example, they could just label their products as reusable even though in practice they are not. 

As a solution for this problem, reducing waste needs to start at the beginning: In the process of designing a product, developers need to include the concept of circularity for each product to make recycling, reuse and remanufacturing easier. To this end, a standardized design for (plastic) products will support the recycling or reuse of products in a circular economy.  

However, these measures cannot be effective unless the demand for (single-use) plastics is reduced and this requires a drastic change in the thinking and purchasing habits of consumers.


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