Remember how I urged you to stop using single-use plastics. That post almost coincided with the press release of the European Parliament on their newest plastics strategy. In Brussels, the EU agreed upon a goal to have 55% of all plastics to be recycled by 2030 and to cut the use of plastic bags by customers by more than half. (Read more here)
An additional €100m is being made available on top of current spending to research better designs, durability and recyclability and EU member states will be put under an obligation to “monitor and reduce their marine litter”. – The Guardian
Germany appears to be the best example in effectively sorting and recycling their waste materials. The country has the highest municipal recycling rate in the EU (66.1%), which represents recycling after end-member use – but it has an even higher recycling rate if you include recycling of manufacturing waste. (Read more here) How did they get to be the EU’s paragon of virtue? [braafste jongetje van de klas]
- Manufacturers are responsible for recycling packaging after consumer use
Manufacturers are urged not to produce any waste, recycle the waste they do make, and dispose of any leftovers in an environmentally friendly way. A green dot on any packaging indicates it must be accepted by recyclers.
- Recycling culture
On squares, streets, schoolyards, gas stations, everywhere in Germany, you can find multiple recycle bins. This is, apart from making effective recycling, making consumers more conscious about their waste production. Households are stimulated to produce as little non-recyclable waste as possible by putting a tax on the total trash weight. Also, waste management is part of the school curriculum.
In the Netherlands, we are not there yet. Although our municipal recycling rate is okay (51.7%), we seem to struggle with implementing easy solutions like providing extra recycle waste bins in public areas. The UK (43.5%) is soon no longer part of the EU, but nonetheless, I think they need to adopt a better recycling strategy. In Southampton, I was quite shocked by the lack of any recycling culture amongst pedestrians and the amount of unnecessary packing material in supermarkets.
Whether you want to contribute towards the European strategy, towards a cleaner environment and/or towards more sustainable production, there are already ways to do this! Currently, it requires an extra effort of the consumer, but it is very doable. There are waste sorting stations throughout every city. Here you can find an alphabetically ordered list of the cities my friends and family live in, with a link to their waste program websites (click on the city name), and some fun facts. I will give some general tips in a later post.
- Arnhem has two large city recycle stations. Through general waste taxes, Arnhem urges its citizens to separate as much of their waste as possible for recycling.
- Bergen op Zoom With a special saver card you can make use of the recycling centers; some types of waste for free, others you pay for with your (limited) card points.
- Delft The municipality rewards schools and societies financially for keeping their surroundings clean of trash.
- Eindhoven leaves most of the inquiries to their partner Cure. The municipality is very open about the financial gain from their metals collection program (a good thing!).
- Naaldwijk their trash collection program is well-developed, including an option to have your chemical disposables collected.
- Ouddorp (Goeree-Overflakkee) Not a well-structured website. Both residents and holiday home owners can use the recycle station in Goedereede for free. Soil waste cannot be brought there.
- Rockanje (Westvoorne) Started 2018 with a digital app for their trash collection program. They even come to collect bulky waste.
- Rotterdam The city stimulates not only for recycling, but also for reusing and reducing waste, and keeping your own street/neighbourhood clean.
- Schiedam bring your recyclables to an AAP [afval apart punt] or to the Milieustraat. Milk cartons are accepted together with your plastic waste.
- Southampton, UK Uses a digital app as well. The municipality makes a good effort to inform students about their responsibilities.
- Utrecht Between now and 2021 the city is changing their collection program to recycle more products and to reduce costs in waste management.