On October 15, 2019, the non-governmental organization the Rethink Plastic Alliance announced the publication of a report titled “Reusable solutions: how governments can help stop single-use plastic pollution.” The report is aimed at informing policymakers at the national level who will be responsible for implementing the EU single use plastics directive beginning in July 2021 (FPF reported). Specifically, it focuses on how “reusable items and systems have been proven to be highly effective and a key solution in shifting away from single-use plastics.” The report identifies a set of conditions necessary for effective reuse systems as well as key policy recommendations.

Conditions identified by the report for an effective reuse system include: system infrastructure and employee training, durable container design, systems at scale, addressing hygiene requirements, having a minimum viable population density, as well as being convenient and easy to use. Key policy recommendations presented in the report include: ensuring single-use plastics are replaced with reusable products and not with other single use materials such as bamboo, enacting legal obligations for reusable tableware for in-store consumption, setting binding consumption reduction targets for beverage and food containers, using deposit return schemes, and taxing single use products.

Meadhbh Bolger, co-author of the report and campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, commented that “if governments switched to reusable products instead of wasteful single-use plastics, they would slash plastic pollution, save local authorities money for collection and waste cleanup, and create local jobs.”

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Rethink Plastic Alliance (October 15, 2019). “New report shows how EU countries can quit single-use plastics and switch to reusables.”

Friends of the Earth Europe (October 15, 2019). “Reusable solutions: how governments can help stop single-use plastic pollution.”