May 3, 2021 at 01:09:25 PM
Q1 – Please introduce yourself(-ves) and your organisation?
GLOBAL 2000 is an independent environmental protection organisation in Austria based in Vienna. It all started in 1982, when six activists took an environmental study of the time, the first environmental report in history called “Global 2000”, as a model and began to shape Austria’s environmental policy. Since then, a lot has happened and we work on a wide variety of environmental issues: climate protection, biodiversity, ecological agriculture and against genetic engineering, anti-nuclear power and a reduced consumption of resources. I am responsible for a sustainable use of resources and among other things also plastic reduction. My name is Lena Steger and I am a campaigner for resources working for GLOBAL 2000 since September 2019.
Q2 – Why is plastic pollution an important issue for your organisation? What’s the story?
Trash in nature is a worldwide problem, and plastic in particular has become ubiquitous, not only in the world’s oceans. But how much of the “dirt” is actually in our nature? For this purpose, GLOBAL 2000 has developed a few years ago the “DreckSpotz” app. With the app everybody can help to collect data for our “Trash in Nature” report. The results provide us with the basis for political demands such as reusable systems, deposits and consistent waste avoidance.
In Austria in particular, we have an above-average consumption of plastics and resources and therefore have a lot to do to improve this situation.
Q3 – Tell us more about your ongoing campaign(-s)/activity(-ies)
Last year, we launched a major campaign on single-use deposits and mandatory reuse quotas in Austria. The campaign is called “Pfand drauf – Stoppt den Einwegmüll” (“Put a deposit on it – stop single-use waste”).
As part of the campaign, we published a survey showing that 83% of Austrians want a deposit system. In addition, in a report with the Changing Markets Foundation, we exposed the plastic pollution lobby that is doing everything it can to prevent stricter legislation in Austria. A highlight was certainly the publication of our littering report and subsequent actions focusing on the main polluter among beverage containers: Red Bull.
In the process, we published a number of videos about the austrian energy drink producer that doesn’t want to take responsibility for its product (1, 2) and also a short documentary on the problem of littered cans and plastic bottles for cows. But we also nominated the 2nd place, the Brau Union, with the satire plastic pollution award due to Covid-19 by video . To stay active we got inventive and visited the big institutions that try to prevent the deposit system at their headquarters in a bike tour. The video and press release about the tour led to Lidl Austria publicly supporting a deposit system for the first time as the first supermarket chain in Austria. Finally, we also projected the petition signatures onto the Federal Chancellery, thereby making it clear to the federal government that action must now finally be taken. Since the campaign launch, we have significantly advanced the public debate and put the issue on the highest political agenda. At the moment we are still wading on the Waste Management Act amendment but it could be any moment now. In any case, the last year was filled with many actions to get the deposit through in Austria.
We also support the #WeChooseReuse campaign. In Austria, we are working with Zero Waste Austria to make the campaign more visible and find supporters at the community or city level as well as among businesses. We want to see reusable systems flourish throughout Europe and would like to see binding legislation as a basis for this – that’s what we are campaigning for.
Q4 – When did your organisation become a core member of BFFP? What does it mean for your organisation to be part of the BFFP movement?
GLOBAL 2000 has already been a core member of Break Free From Plastic since 2018 and we greatly appreciate the work we do together. Especially for me (Lena), the exchange on current political issues is extremely relevant, as I am the only one working on the topic within my NGO. Also, it’s just always super fun to work with the Break Free From Plastic team. The good vibe is reflected in the whole BFFP movement and I am happy to be a part of it.
Q5 – What is the most ridiculous plastic product or packaging that you have seen?
There is a whole range of plastic packaging that really gets my goat. The highlights were certainly peeled bananas in a Styrofoam container with plastic wrap and I have already seen individually wrapped in plastic carrots (see photo). I see it almost as an attack on evolution when people fabricate such nonsense.