Prague reducing disposable plastics at events

The city won’t support cultural events that use throw-away plastic cups and plates

Prague will be helping to reduce the use of plastics. Any cultural or artistic events that get a city subsidy will no longer be able to sell food and beverages using disposable plastic cups, plates or cutlery.

The measure was put forward by City Councilor Hana Třeštíková (Praha Sobě), responsible for culture.

“I want to find in my responsibility all the possibilities for Prague to behave in a more environmentally friendly manner. Reducing disposable plastics is the most effective means of fighting for cleaner nature and oceans. I hope that Prague will not remain alone and inspire other organizers and operators,” Třeštíková said on the City Hall website.

The anti-plastic measures will be included among the rights and obligations of the subsidy recipients in the field of culture and art. Subsidy beneficiaries will have to sell food and beverages only in returnable and washable glassware, porcelain or metal or in returnable plastic dishes. The requirement will be included in contracts from May 1, 2019.

“The ban on disposable plastics will be valid at all cultural events that Prague financially supports with individual subsidies, including large music festivals. Most of the dishes serve only for a few minutes, while there are far more gentle options, such as returnable cups. This is the way that a modern city like Prague has to go,” Třeštíková added.

This is not the only current initiative against plastics. City Councilor Vít Šimral (Pirates) responsible for education, and Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) have also launched a student competition to finds ways to reduce plastic use.

The contest is open to primary and secondary school student teams, and has a prize of up to Kč 10,000. The goal is to find ways to reduce plastic waste in schools.

“If we want to improve the state of our environment, we must start with ourselves. And we will pass the landscape on to our children. We want them to realize that the best waste is the kind that doesn't occur. That is why we would like to motivate them to become familiar with waste management, sorting and recycling,” Šimral said.

The projects will be evaluated on their impact and sustainability, and winner will be picked June 10. The winning project will be implemented at the end of September.

The new requirements for cultural events in Prague will take effect some two years before new rules against disposable plastic are mandatory across the European Union.

Disposable plastic dishes are, according to the European Commission, among the top 10 plastic products found in the sea.

Last year, the European Union agreed to ban all disposable plastic products starting in 2021.

Plastic is slow to decompose, which is why it builds up and collects in seas, oceans and on beaches across Europe and worldwide. Plastic residues, including microplastics, are now being found in marine species – and subsequently in the human food chain, according to the European Commission.

The cost of plastics litter includes the lost economic value in the material, losses for tourism, fisheries and shipping, and the cost of the clean-up – not to mention the price paid by nature and the environment, the EC adds.

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