Plastikvermeidung auf kommunaler Ebene
The discussion about plastic waste is anything but new for German municipalities. In fact, as early as the 1980s, numerous German municipalities were experimenting with plastic waste prevention regulations and waste prevention in general. A further impetus for plastic waste prevention was provided in the early 1990s with the discussions on the introduction of a nationwide packaging ordinance. After almost three decades of stagnation – including setbacks with regard to the expansion of return systems and the increase of single-use packaging – the issue of plastic prevention and packaging reduction in municipalities is now receiving renewed attention as a result of increased societal awareness and political regulations at EU level.
This book chapter by Linda Mederake (Ecologic Institute) and Dorothea Seeger (BUND) deals with the possibilities for municipal action to avoid plastics. These options range from information and awareness-raising activities to political decisions, regulatory requirements and public procurement as a driver of packaging reduction. The authors point out that the greatest untapped potential for reducing packaging waste at the municipal level lies in the areas of informal administrative action and public procurement.
The best practice examples presented in this article show that it is possible to do things differently. In addition, private-sector and civil-society initiatives can harness additional potential for plastic prevention.