10 proposals to remove plastic from our lives

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Fundació Pere Tarrés
  • Most of plastic packaging is not recycled.
    Most of plastic packaging is not recycled. Source: Pixabay.
Organizations and public administrations have an important role to play in reducing the consumption of plastics on a local scale, from public procurement to the promotion of infrastructures for local consumption.

For a long time many organisations and groups have been denouncing how unsustainable this situation is and have been calling on the administration and companies to drastically reduce the use of plastic. The report Plastívoros by Friends of the Earth and Justícia Alimentària includes a set of measures that could be implemented locally to “remove plastic from our lives”. These are the ten proposals made by these two organisations:

1. Support short supply chains. In a globalised world it is difficult to shorten the supply chains for all products; however, it is possible to prioritise short supply chains for local products or agricultural production.

2. Create infrastructures and logistics for local producers. This process entails recovering the classical way of trade: direct sales by producers in public spaces such as temporary markets or agricultural producer stalls in markets or public spaces. Also, the Social and Solidarity Economy is strongly pushing for the implementation of local cycle-based logistics, i.e. delivering products in urban and periurban places on two wheels.

3. Encourage selective organic waste management in urban spaces and produce high-quality compost.

4. Encourage systems to return and dispose of plastic containers.

5. Reduce the use of plastic containers and packaging. Both for public and private procurement, administrations and organisations can include clauses on procurement that encourage a reduction in plastic or single-use packaging and containers.

6. Promote sustainable, organic menus at public canteens; this is a criterion that would help public canteens to reduce the distance and the packaging of products.

7. Prioritise public procurement from local food systems.

8. Include binding ethical, sustainability and fair trade clauses in public tenders. This would show the firm commitment of local administration with sustainable consumption. For these points, the report focuses on public canteens and sustainable food systems, but they could be extended to all public procurement processes of local administrations.

9. Install filter systems at municipal waste water management facilities to avoid microplastics contamination. These polluting particles are carried through a city or town’s wastewater sewers and easily end up in the sea or agricultural land and thus increase the levels of pollution. Adequate filter systems can help prevent pollution in the long run.

10. Increase the traceability and transparency of the life cycle of plastics, encouraging the purchase of toxic-free materials or avoid using single-use products.

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