Czech Government Enforces EU Directive Reducing Single-Use Plastics
The issue of plastic waste affects society and the environment at a global level. The Czech government has approved a 2019 European Union directive to lower the impact of plastic waste by banning certain single-use plastics and increasing extended producer responsibility. Measures have also been introduced in Brno to get plastic off the streets. Photo Credit: Freepik / Illustrative photo.
Brno, Jan 28 (BD) – On Monday, the Czech government approved a bill banning certain single-use plastic products, transposing an EU Directive of 2019 to reduce the impact of single-use plastics on the environment, especially in seas and oceans, and to support moves towards a circular economy i.e. to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Assuming that the law is approved by parliament, it could come into effect from July 1st of this year. The law will ban the production and import of unnecessary plastic products which pose the greatest risk to the environment, reducing consumption of plastic by around 1.8 billion pieces per year.
These products include disposable plastic plates, cutlery, straws, stirrers, cotton buds, balloon sticks, food containers and drinking cups made of polystyrene.
“The aim of the new law is to reduce the senseless overuse of many thousands of tons of disposable plastics a year, especially from fast food and mass events. When it comes to banning selected disposable products, there are already a number of reusable alternatives, and we can save millions of plastic products a year,’’ said Environment Minister Richard Brabec.
According to the legislation, manufacturers will be required to inform consumers about the proper disposal of products after use, particularly manufacturers of hygiene aids and tobacco products. Following the concept of extended producer responsibility, manufacturers of certain products, such as filter cigarettes, will aid in the disposal of these products in municipalities by contributing financially to the cleaning of public spaces.
How is plastic waste managed in Brno?
With around 400,000 inhabitants, the City of Brno has recognized its carbon footprint and committed to reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. The city has been working towards better waste management and created more stations for recycling. An incentive scheme was created by the municipality’s environmental department last year to reduce waste, by prohibiting the use of disposable plastics at events where refreshments are provided.
Organizations in Brno Take Initiative to Combat Plastic Waste
Photo credit: Courtesy of Brno Zoo.
Brno Zoo opened an aquarium last summer which featured plastic waste among the fish, to raise awareness of the issue of plastic pollutants in oceans.
There are several zero-waste stores around Brno, such as Nasyp si, No Sáček and C&R Haná, where customers can stock up on groceries and hygiene products using their own bags and containers. A quick search for ‘‘Bezobalový obchod’’ on Google Maps will show the nearest zero-waste stores to you.
Fruits and vegetables can also be purchased without packaging at the Zelný trh market. Unfortunately, the market is currently not operational due to restrictions under the anti-epidemic system (PES). However, the market organizers intend to reopen the market when the country returns to the fourth level of PES.
Plastic cups and tupperware can be reused thanks to the initiatives Otoč kelímek (Turn the Cup Over) and Rekrabička (REbox). Around 450 million disposable coffee cups are used each year in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Otoč kelímek is a nationwide initiative of cafes working together to reduce this number. In many cafes in Brno you can ask for a returnable cup when purchasing a hot drink; the cafe will charge a deposit of 50 crowns which will be refunded when you return the cup.
A similar initiative by Rekrabička works by ordering a take-away meal from partner restaurants in a reusable tupperware. The box can be reused up to 400 times before returning it to a participating restaurant and receiving the refundable deposit of 80 crowns.
Three students from the Faculty of Civil Engineering at Brno University of Technology (BUT) created a business concept to turn plastic waste collected from cafes and restaurants into furniture items. The Plastic Guys have recently created a new project, the ‘plastic crystal’, which uses recycled plastic waste to build a crystal-shaped camping pod.