Organizations, governments pledge to reduce plastic waste
Single-use plastics continue to be a major focus in the global waste stream. Waste Dive has put together a list of several organizations and countries who are pledging to reduce or eliminate the use of such materials in their operations in celebration of World Environment Day (June 5) and World Oceans Day (June 8).
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The Swedish home furnishings giant has vowed to eliminate its single-use plastics by 2020. The company, which also serves food at its in-house cafeterias, will remove plastic straws, plates, cups, freezer bags, bin bags and plastic-coated paper plates and cups from its waste stream. In May 2017, The Guardian reported that Ikea invested in a plastics recycling facility in a bid to reduce its environmental impact.
In a statement on its website, the British consumer goods company said it aims to remove or reduce plastic packaging wherever possible and invest in research to find alternative materials. The company will use 25% recycled plastic for its products by 2025, with 100% being recyclable or reusable. Hinting at the challenges it faces in achieving this goal, the statement went on to say, "The medicines, self-care medical devices and food supplements sectors are highly regulated and the use of plastics in packaging and manufacturing is driven by the need to offer safe and effective products to patients and consumers."
International Olympic Committee
Earlier this week, the UN said the International Olympic Committee — along with seven other sports bodies — will eliminate single-use plastics from events worldwide by 2020. The sports bodies include World Sailing, the International Association of Athletics Federations, the International Triathlon Union, the International Ice Hockey Federation, World Rugby, World Golf and the International Surfing Association.
The Travel Corporation
The global travel company said Tuesday that it would end use of single-use plastics in its many subsidiary companies within the next five years. It outlined a strategy highlighting more than 60 types of plastics to ban, including plastic bags, water bottles, cutlery, straws and stir sticks.
Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, announced Tuesday that India will eliminate all single-use plastics by 2022. The ambitious plan will require the cooperation of the country's 1.3 billion people. On Twitter, Modi said, "The quest for material prosperity can't lead to environmental degradation. We must remember that an unclean environment hurts the poor and vulnerable the most."
While Rwanda banned the use of plastic bags more than a decade ago, the government is considering new guidelines to further reduce the use of single-use plastics such as straws and cutlery. At a conference in Kigali last month, Environment Minister Vincent Biruta said, "Today, the challenge we face is no longer polythene bags alone, but all plastics, especially those used once and thrown away. We are in the process of revising the plastics law to reduce single-use plastics and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of plastic recycling in the country."
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