Jars with food

Zero-waste life: what do we need to achieve it?


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Zero-waste shops are just one of the measures towards a zero-waste life. Small as they may seem, we are all somehow able to make changes, such as doing without disposable straws, buying a reusable water bottle, using cotton shopping bags or buying second-hand clothes.

Would the transition to zero-waste life be easier if businesses provided more opportunities for customers? How can we engage big corporations and businesses to contribute to zero-waste life?

The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has selected some of its resources to provide young people like you with background information and insights linked to the topic above.

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The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has selected some of its resources to provide you with background information and insights linked to the topic above.

Briefing, September 2019


Natasha Repovz
19 June 2020
There needs to be better regulations for out big supermarkets and producers. Consumers yes, consume way too much, however, we are constantly marketed products we do not need. Over and over and over again. The only thing that produces in money into someone else's pocket (often American pockets), our houses become hoarding warehouses and our landfills are full. It is absurd. And the thing that will fix it it to buy another cute dress? Or cream? More plastic?

A good example is the city of Grenoble in France, they completely eliminated marketing in public spaces. Yet, they are still kicking and going(it's not all state-funded now), and it's a much cleaner and visually nicer place.

There need to be better laws that the companies aren't allowed to produce items that brake in 2 years, it's absurd how our technology gets designed and built in this way. We need better quality and normal prices.

Until plastic-free containers are available in every single store, things will not change on a massive scale. It needs to be simple and convenient for consumers. And not to be sold as this elusive lifestyle when you need tons of money for it. I currently live in Vienna, and this is how it is here. And Billa, Merkur and Hoffer are lobbying the government to not change the system. The politicians need to take the lead and the stand, not just be afraid for their seats.
Domokos Péter Kovács
25 May 2020
Separate waste collection in educational institutions.

The knowledge acquired in kindergarten and school has an impact on our whole lives, so it is very important to emphasize the topic of environmental protection, climate change and sustainable development in the curricula.

There are a number of very good practices in the European Union on how to raise awareness of the importance of separate waste collection and how to organize different projects in this area.

It would also be important for the EU to help in this area and support Member States in increasing the amount of selective waste from educational institutions.
Kwon Neung Kim
20 May 2020
Eco- tax

Asking consumers to find the zero-waste shop and put extra effort to live eco-friendly life is absurd. I don't think it is fair for profit-making companies to pass their responsibility to the customers. It is why I think any plastic packaged products or plastic bags should be subject to the extra tax. The goal is to make products with the plastic package or not environment-friendly products to lose their price competitiveness with zero-waste shops or products. The law, which enforces supermarket chains to allocate 25% to 50% of total products to zero-waste products, can promote the accessibility of zero-waste products. If this applies to all the products, the producers will figure out the ways to avoid producing the waste and start to produce less-waste products so they can remain as the lead in the market.
When it comes to the treaty regarding Intentional Oil Pollution, the private actors came up with a better solution once the restriction is imposed. Until the policy was adopted by states, the effort to reduce sea-waste was relatively inactive.
Ștefana Greavu
11 March 2020
I think, shopping zero-waste is a great idea, but I'm not aware of the existance of any shops of this kind in my cities (Sibiu and Bucharest, Romania).
Firstly, even if they exist, they are certainly not popular enough, because I would go out of my way to purchase from them. So, more advertisement would be necessary. Also, pointing out the importance of buying zero-waste through emotional videos might be helpful.
Secondly, even if I went out of my way to buy from a zero-waste shop, I am sure that most of the people wouldn't do this way. That's why, building such shops in more central locations or opening more stores in various locations around the city would be helpful.
I always have a tote bag on hand, so I never use plastic. Also, whenever it's possible, I weight by groceries without a bag in the supermarket. Still, this is not enough. I am scared by how much packiging I have to throw away everyday and, while in Sibiu, one can dispose of its waste through recycling, Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, does not offer a recycling program, so all the waste goes into the same place, even paper, plastic or glass.
In addition, some shops offer recycled products, such as napkins, notebooks or water bottles. I think, more stores should sell such items, as they are a step further in the right direction.
What is more, people will always prefer shopping from the supermarket. That's why, supermarkets should incorporate zero-waste sections or they should improve their policy into a more eco-friendly one.