plastic waste

Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

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Germany’s Environment Minister Svenja Schulze unveiled a 5-point plan  “No to the Throwaway Society” to reduce plastic waste in Germany as well as other countries which include bringing recycled and environmentally friendly products in use and reduction in plastic in the packaging of products.

“With these measures, we are reversing the trend in the use of plastics,” Schulze said in a statement. “We produce far too much plastic in our consumer and throwaway society. Even if we don’t want to do so at all, we export these consumption patterns to emerging and developing countries.”

The Environment Ministry also called for a more international commitment to reduce sea garbage and to find more sustainable uses of plastic. In Germany, around 220.5 kg of packaging waste per capita was generated in 2016 – significantly more than the EU average.

The five-point plan to reduce plastic in lifestyle is briefly described as the following five steps-

1.Say No to Unnecessary products and Packaging

With an example of banana, Schulze explained, that it “comes with its own biodegradable packaging, namely a banana skin. That will have to suffice in future.” The banana peel acts as a natural packaging for the fruit so it doesn’t need extra packaging.

2.Making Use of Eco-friendly Packaging and Products

Companies will be encouraged to do this via new licensing rules, with less environmentally friendly packaging incurring larger fees.

3.More Recycling

The German government targets to increase recycling rates from recycling 36% of total waste to 63 percent by 2022.

4.Keeping Plastic Separated from Organic Waste

Careful segregation of waste is one of the most important aspects of recycling and it would also improve the quality of compost. So, people should be educated what goes in which coloured bin.

5.Support from Countries for Cleaning Oceans

Schulze wants to support the countries from which a lot of garbage ends up in the oceans in setting up collection and recycling systems. Starting in 2019, a total of 50 million euros will be earmarked for this over ten years.


The masterplan is related to the new Packaging Act, which will enter into law on January 1st.  It regulates that “reusable” and “disposable” drinks on the shelves must be clearly labeled and that manufacturers will have to pay lower fees for recyclable packaging – the exact amount which is not yet specified – in order to boost recycling rates.

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