Plastic waste in the European Commission

Many colleagues have expressed concern to Generation 2004 about the problem of the large amount and use of non-recyclable plastic waste produced by the Commission, in particular from its events’ catering activities and related services (including canteens, cafetarias and catering services).
The problem with such waste, as you are certainly aware is that at best it get’s burned or goes to landfill (i.e. gets buried in a hole in the ground where it stays for hundreds of years), but at worst it joins the millions of tones of plastic waste swirling around our oceans and destroying marine life.


Generation 2004 believes that much more could be done to reduce the impact of the Commissions’s activities in this regard and that is the reason why on 16 January 2020 we send a note to Mrs Carole MICMACHER, Head of Unit OIB.OS.4 – Catering, asking her to enquire whether a suitable solution could be envisaged in order to reduce plastic waste in our premises. At the time of finishing this article we had not yet receive a reply.
In the note, we also raised the issue of prices of some catering items that we consider overpriced.
Regarding drinks for meetings ordered from the Commission’s catering services, it was noticed the heavy use of non-recyclable cups. While reusable china cups for hot drinks are an option, the majority of meetings seem to use single-use cups. Since many of these meetings involve external visitors, Generation 2004 believes this gives a particularly bad impression of the sustainability of the Commission’s activities. This is more so due to the fact that the Commission should be the one setting the example of best practice given the fact that one of its major goals is the execution of the European green deal.
It should be noted that OIL in Luxembourg started using biodegradable plastic cups and cutlery, which, still single-use and not a complete solution, is already better than plastic. Also, and most recently, it also joined the ECOBOX initiative (a nation wide EC EMAS coffee-mug like project for takeaway food), which was started in Luxembourg about 1 year ago.
We will keep you informed about any answer to our note and on any developments in this area, which concerns us all.

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