So Long, Straws? Czech Republic Joins France In Fight Against Plastic

The Czech environment minister is calling for a widespread reduction of plastic straws, plates, and utensils by restaurants in Prague and the Czech Republic

To coincide with this week’s Clean Up the Czech Republic project, environment minister Richard Brabec announced an initiative tasking restaurants, cafes, and food courts with the restricted use of disposable plastic packaging.

Data provided by the #DostByloPlastu campaign says that the biggest source of unnecessary plastic waste in the Czech Republic comes from plastic dishes and utensils, takeaway coffee cups, and straws.

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Estimates show that up to 20,000 tons of plastic containers are consumed in the Czech Republic per year;  Europeans daily consume 725 million disposable coffee cups.

“We are currently in talks with many fast food operators, companies operating food courts in major retail chains, as well as rail and bus carriers who also use disposable plastic dishes and packaging,” Brabec said.

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The initiative asks businesses to sign a voluntary agreement outlining concrete steps targeted at reducing the consumption of disposable utensils and food packaging.

Customers would receive a discount for bringing their own coffee mug, for instance, or be given the option of substituting plastic plates for ceramic ones.

Restaurants would also be encouraged to only provide straws upon request.

According to Brabec, EU regulation of plastic waste is expected in the near future; he says agreeing on certain rules beforehand will be beneficial, citing the amendment to the Packaging Act which, in line with EU regulations, limits the volume of plastic waste.

Countries and cities around the world are making headlines for banning plastic straws and utensils.

As of July 1, 2018, restaurants in Seattle will no longer provide plastic straws and utensils to consumers; in 2016, France passed a law requiring all plastic cutlery to be made of compostable material starting in 2022, becoming the first country in the world to do so.

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