Beyond Single Use Plastics – Rethink Plastic talkshow

Beyond Single Use Plastics – Rethink Plastic talkshow

On March 27th, Rethink Plastic hosted its second  after-work talkshow in Brussels, in a museum-like environment taking us straight into a plastic-free future.


Rethink Plastic is an alliance of #breakfreefromplastic members working at the European policy level for a future free from plastic pollution. These organisations have come together to co-host a innovative talkshow event, featuring some of the cutting edge business leaders taking on single-use plastics as well as those working from the policy angle to create a Europe hospitable to solutions and hostile to plastic pollution.

The talk show featured a ‘museum’ of single use plastic items.


Following the success of its November 6th edition on Plastic Exports, Rethink Plastic strikes again with a true concept night, this time looking at how the EU can legislate on single-use plastics and enter “a new business era” – as the event title suggests. In practice the discussion was a perfect occasion to address some of the key concerns decision-makers have been talking about over the last few months, namely the impact of legislation on European jobs and economics.


The program was designed to offer a new perspective and show that solutions exist and new economic models are already proving successful, taking us away from the corporate products monopolies – that are packaging intensive – back to more local and resilient economies based on services and short supply chains. The discussion was taking place in a venue staged as a fictive a museum of the future where – the story says – the products exhibited were used in the early 21st century when societies were using excessive amounts of single-use plastics.


The setup was indeed designed to make participants smile -and think! Taking a tour of the venue you could learn about “Legacy of the EU Commission 2014-2019”, “The ten most littered items in 2017” or how those products of the past were successfully replaced by new designs and services that better fitted the “smart lifestyle”.


On the panels content side, the guest speakers were clearly here to offer a different worldview and build confidence.

Zero Waste Europe’s Joan Marc Simon

The Director of Zero Waste Europe, Joan Marc Simon presented this perspective “Who is against a model creating more jobs and economic activity by using less resources & generating less plastic waste? zero waste companies are a clear example showing that we can do more with less!”

Cecilia Rennesson Executive Director of  Reseau Vrac, and association of professionals working on bulk products put forward their vision that “We need to extend bulk to brands to make it work for the general public.” going on to say “Reseau Vrac is working with producers and supermarkets to help bulk go mainstream”.
Presenting a the technology behind bulk food shops Marek Havrda presented MIWA (#MInimumWAste)’s approach to the problem “To help consumers minimise single use plastic waste we need technical & #business model innovation to change the system of daily products #packaging and delivery”


This talkshow did not aim to provide the data and evidence for the legislation, but instead set-out to inspire the vision and confidence necessary to take decisive action towards a future free from plastic pollution, both in Europe and beyond.
Zero waste key to achieving circular economy of cities, experts say

Zero waste key to achieving circular economy of cities, experts say

BANDUNG, Indonesia (March 19, 2018) — Going Zero Waste is the way to go for cities. This has been the conclusion of experts and practitioners in the recently held International Zero Waste Cities Conference in Bandung, Indonesia.

With the theme, “Breaking A ‘Linear’ City: Adopting Zero Waste Towards a Circular Economy,” the event gathered experts, local government leaders, and practitioners from key cities in Asia to discuss, learn, and share experiences in implementing Zero Waste programs.

During the opening plenary, Flore Berlingen of Zero Waste France highlighted the importance for local governments to invest in Zero Waste programs in order to achieve circular economy.

“In Europe, it is the municipalities, not the nations, that are leading the way to Zero Waste. Several hundreds of communities and cities in the EU have committed to Zero Waste and so they are moving very fast,” she said.

Zero Waste is a people-centered solution to the issue of waste. It is an approach to the use of our resources which ensures resource efficiency, resource recovery, and protection of scarce natural resources.

Berlingen also argued that incineration or burning of waste is not part of the solution to cities’ waste problems. “Incineration does not solve the problem of waste. We believe that the solution is moving towards circular economy—making our resources last longer,” she added.

Jack Macy of SF Environment, City of San Francisco, USA, echoed the need for local governments to invest in Zero Waste, citing examples from his city.

“Why do we have to go Zero Waste? Linear system is unsustainable; we need to move past beyond that. San Francisco has made a policy about Zero Waste. We need Zero Waste to manage waste on the landfill, to remove incineration, to promote the best use of waste management, and to increase the responsibility of consumers and producers,” Macy said.

Likewise, local government leaders from the Global South like the Philippines also shared their experiences in implementing Zero Waste policies. Benedict Jasper Lagman, a city council member of the the City of San Fernando in Pampanga, Philippines, shared the experiences of his city in achieving a plastic bag ban. The city has been hailed as a model city in implementing Zero Waste programs.

“We did baby steps to apply the policy on plastic bag ban. We educated people on radio and TV. We started with Plastic-Free Friday. Since 2015, we have totally banned the use of plastic bags. By now, 85% of the citizen are obeying the rules. Now we are aiming for plastic straw ban,” Lagman shared.

Currently, GAIA Asia Pacific member organizations BaliFokus Foundation, Citizen consumer and civic Action Group, EcoWaste Coalition Philippines, Consumers Association of Penang, Health Care Without Harm Asia, Mother Earth Foundation, Yayasan Pengembangan Biosains dan Bioteknologi (YPBB), Stree Mukti Sanghatana (SMS), War on Waste Negros Oriental (WoW Negros Oriental), and Thanal are implementing Zero Waste programs in key cities in the Philippines, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The Plastic Solutions Fund (PSF) is currently supporting this collaboration project – Building and Supporting Zero Waste Cities: Developing Asia Pacific Models for Leading with Solutions at the Frontlines of the Plastics Pollution Crisis – aimed at implementing Zero Waste practices in 16 cities; amplifying positive stories about Asian communities and activists involved in solutions-based organizing; and recognizing Zero Waste champions among partner city officials and waste workers. PSF is an international funders’ collaborative that aims to turn the tide on plastic pollution in our oceans, rivers, land, and air. The Fund promotes innovative collaboration among individuals and institutions, support results-oriented grant making, and provide a trusted platform for new philanthropic investment in order to prevent plastic pollution.

Global campaign challenges Starbucks to keep its promise to curb plastic pollution, create 100% recyclable cup

Global campaign challenges Starbucks to keep its promise to curb plastic pollution, create 100% recyclable cup

PRESS RELEASE, Monday, March 5, 2018

Leading environmental organizations launch “Starbucks: Break Free From Plastic” campaign to confront coffee giant on its plastic pollution problem prior to annual shareholder meeting in Seattle

SEATTLE, WA — Today, more than a dozen leading environmental organizations announced the launch of “Starbucks: Break Free From Plastic” — a global campaign demanding that Starbucks take accountability for its contribution to the growing plastic pollution crisis. Sign the petition at:

The campaign formed ahead of Starbucks’ 2018 annual shareholder meeting, where the coffee giant is urging its shareholders to vote “no” on a sustainability proposal by As You Sow. The proposal asks Starbucks to address its plastic pollution problem by developing stronger efforts to move toward sustainable packaging. View As You Sow’s argument in favor of the proposal.

Starbucks fails on sustainability pledges

The campaign is being launched amidst a backdrop of corporate pledges to address plastic pollution, including from McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. The campaign is demanding firm commitments from Starbucks on how it will address its plastic pollution problem.

In 2008, Starbucks pledged to make a 100% recyclable paper cup and sell 25% of drinks in reusable cups by 2015. To date, Starbucks has failed to produce a 100% recyclable paper cup, and currently serves only 1.4% of drinks in reusable cups.

“Starbucks serves an astounding 4+ billion paper cups each year, most of which end up in the trash because their plastic lining makes them unrecyclable in most places. That’s a disgraceful amount of plastic pollution ending up in our local landfills. It’s time for Starbucks to start living up to its promises.” -Ross Hammond,

Starbucks plans massive global growth

Despite knowing its environmental impact, Starbucks has pledged to dramatically expand its presence in Asia in 2018 — with no plan to address its plastic waste. Because of this inaction, governments are being forced to step up. A parliamentary committee in the UK recently proposed a “latte levy” on single-use cups to help address the growing plastic pollution problem, and the City of Vancouver, BC is considering imposing a fee on unrecyclable, plastic-lined cups.

“Starbucks has pledged to open one store every 15 hours in China in 2018. CEO Kevin Johnson continues to turn a blind eye to his company’s contribution to our global plastic pollution problem even as the coffee giant continues to open stores at an astonishing pace.” –Sondhya Gupta, SumOfUs

Starbucks part of global plastic pollution problem

Starbucks cups, lids, and iconic green straws make up a visible portion of the catastrophic plastic pollution in our oceans. In the marine environment, plastics break down into small indigestible particles that birds and marine animals mistake for food, resulting in illness and death.

“Starbucks pioneered the global ‘to-go’ disposable coffee cup culture, and sends more than 4 billion plastic-lined cups to landfill every year — along with countless single-use plastic lids, straws, stirrers, and cutlery. We’re calling on Starbucks to make a commitment to reusability and stop contributing to our global plastic pollution catastrophe.” -Dianna Cohen, Plastic Pollution Coalition

“Americans use half a billion plastic straws every day. That’s an unfathomable amount. These plastic straws are consistently among the top items collected during beach cleanups. Starbucks’ green straws may be iconic, but this staggering amount of plastic pollution is simply unacceptable.”  -Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, 5 Gyres Institute

“Each minute, the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic ends up in the ocean, and by 2050, there is projected to be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight. Starbucks needs to take immediate steps to #breakfreefromplastic before our global plastic pollution problem overwhelms our oceans and marine life.” -Von Hernandez, Break Free From Plastic

“Plastics are a symptom of our throw-away culture. Companies like Starbucks need to take responsibility for the harm to people and the environment that comes from irresponsible use of a material for minutes that is designed to last lifetimes. We need them to help build a culture of stewardship among consumers and businesses.” -Jamie Rhodes, UPSTREAM

The campaign is calling on Starbucks to address its plastic pollution in 5 specific ways:

  • Create a 100% recyclable paper cup without a plastic lining.

  • Reduce plastic pollution by eliminating single-use plastics like straws.

  • Promote reusable cups and encourage customers to change their habits.

  • Recycle cups and food packaging in all stores worldwide.

  • Report publicly on the type and amount of plastics used in packaging.

The campaign includes 5 Gyres, Care2, Clean Water Action, CREDO, Greenpeace USA, Plastic Pollution Coalition,, The Story of Stuff Project, SumOfUs, Texas Campaign for the Environment, UPSTREAM, Hannah4Change, Captain Planet Foundation, Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation, Plastik Diet Kantong, Heirs to Our Oceans, Wild at Heart Taiwan, and a variety of organizations participating under the Break Free From Plastic global movement.


Media contacts:

Virginia Cleaveland,, virginia@stand.earth510-858-9902

Emily DiFrisco, Plastic Pollution Coalition, emily@plasticpollutioncoalition.org310-266-3172

Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, 5 Gyres Institute, rachel@5gyres.org310-968-7769

Shilpi Chhotray, Break Free From Plastic, shilpi@breakfreefromplastic.org703 400 9986

Plastic Diets in Zero Waste Cities are the Solution to Plastic Pollution

Plastic Diets in Zero Waste Cities are the Solution to Plastic Pollution

BANDUNG, Indonesia, March 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — To support the “Three Months Trash-Free Movement” and commemorate the “National Waste Awareness Day 2018”, the Alliance of Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI) in collaboration with the Directorate General of Waste Management, Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Materials – Ministry of Environment and Forestry, partnered with the West Java Provincial Government, Bandung City Government, Cimahi City Government, and Bandung Regency Government in convening the International Zero Waste Cities Conference (IZWCC) on March 5-7. The Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement (GIDKP) became one of the co-organizers.

The conference was attended by speakers and participants from 12 countries to talk about creating zero waste cities, where every single piece of trash produced in the city biodegrades in nature or circles back to become raw material for production, so that very little trash is sent to landfills.  It is also called the Circular City concept.

“One of the most important elements of a zero waste city is to prevent the occurrence of plastic waste, especially single-use disposable ones, as they are mostly un-recyclable. At the IZWCC, we learned from state officials from San Fernando (Philippines), Kerala (India), and San Francisco(USA), how plastic bag bans have been successfully done and even paved the way for limitations on other single-use plastics
“, said Tiza Mafira, the Executive Director of the Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement .

The problem of plastic waste, especially single-use plastics like plastic bags, needs to be resolved urgently. Indonesia has a target of 70% reduction in plastic marine debris by 2025 nationally but has not taken concrete action to prevent plastic waste.

Meanwhile, local governments have moved ahead of the central government. Banjarmasin City has enacted a plastic bags ban since June 1, 2016.

We saw the opportunity presented by a trial to charge plastic bags in 2016, and took it a step further by banning plastic bags shortly afterward“, said Hamdi Bin Amak Hasan, Banjarmasin’s Deputy of Economic and Development. “This is one of the ways we are maintaining Banjarmasin City’s reputation as the “City of A Thousand Rivers”. We want our rivers to be free of plastic waste,” he added.

In addition to the city of Banjarmasin, Bandung City, Cimahi City, and Bandung Regency have also pledged their commitment to reduce plastic bags.

Currently, we are preparing regulations to require shops, such as supermarkets, to no longer use plastic bags,” said Mayor of Cimahi, Ajay M. Priatna, when opening the City Manager Forum event at Cimahi Technopark on 6 March.

The same thing was revealed by the Regent of Bandung on IZWCC’s Village Manager Forum on March 7 at Gedung Sabilulungan, Soreang, “I would like all packaging in Bandung Regency to use materials derived from vegetable materials, such as cassava“, said Dadang M Nasser, the Regent of Bandung.

When the implementation of IZWCC took place, the video of a diver who was diving in the area of Nusa Penida, Bali Island, became viral in social media. This is certainly an international news that makes Indonesia again highlighted the issue of plastic waste in the sea.

Enough is enough, we are shamed in the eyes of the world with images of rivers and seas filled with plastic waste as if we are not doing anything,” said Rahyang Nusantara, National Coordinator of GIDKP, at the closing of IZWCC at Sabilulungan Building on March 7. “There are many things we are doing in districts/cities, such as in Bandung City, Cimahi City, and Bandung Regency. We are working to reduce plastic waste through plastic bag charges and plastic bags bans, as well as developing zero waste programs at the district/city level. These actions prevent the leakage of plastic waste into rivers and seas in a real way“.


About Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement :
Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik (Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement) ‘s petition in 2015, demanding that retailers no longer give out plastic bags for free, gained 70,000 signatures. One month later, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry acknowledged the petition and immediately rolled out a nationwide trial of a plastic bag charge.  The trial lasted 6 months and revealed stunning results.  A 55% reduction of plastic bag use.  Consumer awareness of plastic bag problems shot up by 80%.  The majority of consumers across all demographics agreed to bring their own reusable bags to shops.  Up to ten different provinces geared up to create their own local regulations.  And in a stunning show of leadership and decisiveness, Banjarmasin became the first city in Indonesia to ban single-use plastic bags in modern retail stores.Media contacts:
Ms. Adithiyasanti Sofia (Dithi)
Corporations Told: Own Up to Global Plastic Crisis

Corporations Told: Own Up to Global Plastic Crisis

BANDUNG, Indonesia (March 8, 2018) — Companies producing and earning from their problematic products should take on the responsibility for the global plastic pollution.

“It’s unfair for companies, who earn billions of dollars annually, to pass the burden and responsibility of managing the waste that their products create when cities and communities with limited resources are burdened by it,” stressed Froilan Grate, regional coordinator of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific during the opening of the International Zero Waste Cities Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia, March 5-7.

“Cities are already struggling to fund waste collection systems, and they are still left to address waste that communities can neither compost nor recycle,” he added.

In his presentation, Grate shared the results of waste and brand audits conducted in Philippine cities and communities in 2017 showing that multinationals—Nestle, Procter and Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, Coca Cola—are among the top 10 plastic polluters in the country.

This finding is consistent to the waste and brand audit conducted in 2017 by Philippines-based member organizations of the #breakfreefromplastic movement along the stretch of Freedom Island which showed the same companies in the top 10.

“The net income in 2016 of the top six multinational corporations polluting the Philippines is $27 billion. As they rake in money for these problematic products, they are also making cities spend scarce resources to collect and manage this waste,” he said, citing the example of 17 Metro Manila cities spending $87 million in 2012, an amount he said is better used to provide basic social services to the poor.

Grate likewise challenged the representative of the Indonesian brand, Danone, who was on stage as Grate made his presentation, to do more to get their company off the list of top 10 local brands that are polluting Indonesia.

“While recycling should be pursued and recognized, we can never recycle our way out of the plastic problem. Companies must reduce the amount of plastic that they use and eliminate problematic products and packaging,” he stressed.

He also called on the government officials present to help them in demanding responsibility from these companies. “We hope cities would step up and be our partners in calling on these companies to take  responsibility for the products that they sell and the waste they create. They cannot pass the work of managing waste that you can neither compost nor recycle. So please join us as we call everyone to break free from plastic because that will all help us go for Zero Waste,” he said.

The International Zero Waste Cities Conference aims to be a learning, sharing, and collaborating venue to enable cities to pursue and accelerate the global transition to Zero Waste.

Organized by the Alliansi Zero Waste Indonesia and GAIA Asia Pacific, the conference was hosted by the cities of Cimahi, Soreang, and Bandung. It served as a venue for city and community leaders from Zero Waste cities  and municipalities in Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Malaysia, USA, and Europe to showcase how their communities divert waste from going to landfills through at-source waste segregation, composting, and anaerobic digestion.


  1. In Indonesia, brand audits were conducted in three cities currently implementing Zero Waste programs, namely Bandung City, Cimahi City, and Bandung Regency. From the audit, a total of 8,101 plastic waste items were collected. These plastic items are considered as residual or other waste. The samples were taken from an eight-day waste assessment and characterization study (WACS). In the Philippines, brand audits were conducted in the cities of Malabon, Quezon City, and Tacloban. The audits, which were done in 2017, were part of the WACS carried out as preparatory activities to the Zero Waste Programs implemented in the said cities.
  1. Results of the waste and brand audit conducted by the PH-based members orgs of the  BFFP movement can be accessed here:
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