Seven European environmental NGOs are challenging the European Council, Parliament and Commission to practice what they preach and implement greener public procurement in their own buildings by phasing out single use plastics.

While the European Parliament and Council negotiate the new Circular Economy legislation and the Commission develops a Strategy on Plastic in the Environment, disposable single use plastic items are still omnipresent in the EU buildings. Most meetings and events in the European institution buildings are populated by single serve water bottles, plastic coffee cups, stirrers, milk cartons and more. Items like these have no place in a circular economy which focuses on waste prevention first and foremost.

Seas At Risk and six other NGOs, all part of the international Break Free From Plastic movement, have sent a letter to the heads of the three main European institutions calling on them to commit to making their buildings single use plastic free.

The Ocean Conference’, which the United Nations hosts on the 5th to 9th of June in New York, provides the perfect opportunity for the European Commissioner Karmenu Vella to announce such a pledge. By banning single use plastics from their buildings and events, the EU institutions would send a powerful signal about the importance of green public procurement, one that hopefully would inspire other administrations to follow suit. 

Single use plastics are consistently in the top 10 items found on beaches around the world. Preventing those from being used is a key measure for reducing marine litter and for creating a waste-free society. There are plenty of reusable alternatives to many of the single use plastic items that are used regularly today. The EU buildings are the venues for many international meetings and events, and thus the perfect place for showcasing these alternatives.

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