Single use plastic generates a huge source of unnecessary waste. From coffee cups, plastic packaging, takeaway boxes to plastic cutlery – these conveniences are damaging our planet with disastrous consequences for marine and terrestrial ecosystems. To change this, solutions that prevent single-use plastic from entering the market in the first place are needed.
But what are existing good practices? What are the political, legal, and social framework conditions that promote such reusable systems?
In a virtual exchange on July 1, 2021 titled “Steering the process – Policymakers’ scope for action to promote a single-use plastic-free environment”, legislators, policymakers and key actors presented their approaches and political instruments for avoiding single-use plastic for food deliveries and take away food sales.
At this gathering, representatives of the Thailand Environment Institute, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the German NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe (German Environmental Aid) and the German City of Tübingen discussed policy instruments and possibilities, such as a packaging tax, a ban on single-use packaging or awareness campaigns to promote the transition from single-use to reusable packaging systems.
In addition to establishing reusable systems, policymakers can create incentives through legislation and regulations to facilitate the switch from single-use packaging to reusable solutions. In this way, the amount of packaging waste in meal delivery and take away food sales can be significantly reduced.
An example is from the City of Tübingen, in the southwest of Germany, where a local tax on single-use packages was introduced to respond to the increasing amounts of disposable packaging. From January 2022, each single-use food and drink package will be charged 0.50 Euros (approximately 20 baht) and cutlery will cost 0.20 (approximately 8 baht) Euros per meal.
The event was part of a webinar series on single-use plastic prevention with the aim to initiate a long-term, goal-oriented exchange between policymakers and companies opting for reusable systems. In a previous webinar at the end of June, the success factors and challenges for new business models were discussed.