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Tell Supermarkets to Stop Using Non-Recyclable Plastic

Tell the supermarket to stop using the non-recyclable plastic

A new petition requires large French supermarket chains to stop using non-recyclable plastic in their own-brand milk bottles. These bottles are causing chaos to recycling plants and hindering the country's circular economy goals.

What's in the circle? At first glance, we may not think of anything. Its simplicity evokes plainness, but as we observe deeply, we find that its core is harmony. Harmony in the form of integrity and sustainability. Live in harmony in the form of collaboration and sharing. As we know, a harmonious form of life. A circle is much more than the eye can see. Just like the circular economy. Although the concept seems simple, creating a truly sustainable economy means careful planning, attention to detail, and ensuring that the various parts of the economy work together in harmony.

Although the concept of circular economy has taken root throughout Europe, the unfortunate fact is that not everyone fully accepts circular design.

Recently, Zero Waste France discovered that many large French supermarket chains that store their own-brand milk on their shelves use bottles made from a non-recyclable polymer commonly called opaque PET. This is equivalent to millions of non-recyclable bottles on the French market alone. Since the implementation of proper recycling methods is far from ready, the presence of opaque PET in recycling centers disrupts the entire process because it cannot be correctly identified by current machines. This leads to unnecessary allocation of manpower and resources to deal with this difficult material, and the cost falls on the shoulders of taxpayers.

We can all help solve this problem, and at the same time, we can block the use of opaque PET in French supermarket chains by signing the "French Zero Waste" petition.

Although it was a small effort, the signing of the petition not only pointed out the major “taboos” for the sustainable development of the bottling industry, but also helped to expand the producer responsibility (EPR) system. As a tool that can be used to provide economic incentives for producers to better design products, the EPR program aims to punish non-circular products and ensure that polluters, not citizens, pay for it.

The idea behind it is to create a closed-loop economy and incentivize producers to either create durable, reusable, repairable and recyclable products, or to pay the price.

The EPR plan may be one of the important cornerstones of the transition to a circular economy, but it is clear that there is still a lot of room for improvement in its performance and implementation in Europe.

With your help and support, we are one step closer to closing this circle and building a suitable future for the environment and the people living in it.

The chart shows the results of a recent study, which shows that there is a gap between the amount of urban waste in the EU that meets the EPR plan (70%) and the amount actually covered (45%). Source: Zero Waste in Europe, Extended Producer Responsibility: Creating a Framework for Recycling Products, January 2017.

This blog is written by Christopher Nicastro for Zero Waste in Europe

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