A new European-wide project has been launched, aiming to provide cities with greater tools and knowledge to prevent rising volumes of plastic waste.
Elevating Reuse In Cities (ERIC) is a new project, funded by the Plastics Solutions Fund, which aims to empower European municipalities to reduce plastic waste generation.
Led by 10 member organisations of Zero Waste Europe, an environmental network based in Brussels, the project focuses on training local organisations to become specialists in reuse systems and design effective plastic prevention plans targeting events, public spaces and buildings, as well as procurement policies.
Notable cities participating in the 28-city project include Zagreb (Croatia), Nicosia (Cyprus), Bled (Slovenia), and Lyon (France).
ERIC highlights the urgent necessity to find effective ways of reducing our dependence on single-use items and especially plastic, which is one of the biggest drivers of our current – which lead to the overexploitation and pollution of earth’s natural resources.
In Croatia, recycling companies‘ deceptive practices underscore the need for urgent action to reduce plastic waste.
Marko Košak, Zero Waste Croatia Network Coordinator, states:
“Plastic pollution in Croatia is one of the biggest social and environmental problems. This is proven by the fires that break out frequently in factories that supposedly deal with plastic recycling, but in fact their yards are plastic dumps that ‘accidentally’ catch fire from time to time, reducing their costs, while falsely showing that the plastic is recycled.”
The situation also costs cities and municipalities dearly by contracting the same plastic companies for collection services. “This” says Košak, “motivates us to work through the ERIC project with the capital city of Zagreb on a strategy to drastically reduce the amount of plastic waste generated.”
This sentiment is echoed by Patrizia Lo Sciuto, Vice President of Zero Waste Italy and a representative for the ERIC project in Sicily.
“It seems to be very difficult to give up plastic,“ Lo Sciuto observes, „but we cannot ignore the pressing need to address this crisis. Plastic waste, particularly single-use plastics, devastates our seas when abandoned. The ERIC project presents an ambitious opportunity to make a substantial impact.”
Mayors across Italy have been vocal in their support for the ERIC project as a means of combating plastic pollution. Giorgio Del Ghingaro of Viareggio and Edoardo Prestanti of Carmignano have each expressed their commitment to adopting preventative measures and reducing plastic use in their municipalities.
Del Ghingaro states:
“As the first mayor in Italy to adopt the Zero Waste Municipalities strategy in Capannori in 2007, I believe there is no more time to waste. We welcome the proposal to join the ERIC project.”
Over the course of two years, ERIC participating cities will create plastic prevention plans at the local level and mobilise their communities around ambitious action to introduce packaging reuse models that prevent plastic waste.
For more information on the project visit the Zero Waste Cities website.