The list includes: plastic cups, plastic cutlery, plastic straws, stirrers, plastic food containers, beverage containers, crisp packets, non-reusable plastic bags, balloons, and wet wipes containing plastic.
“We had different working groups exchanging on each product and finding sustainable solutions to remove that single-use plastic,” Thomas says of the project, which is being financed by the sustainable development ministry.
The 50 signatories span sectors and range from small to large companies, each of which face their own specific challenges in implementing the changes. Thomas says some members, such as the supermarket Pall Center, were not able to sign because it was too difficult.
It will also be a challenge for others, like Sodexo, which provides a range of services, including canteen catering. The next step of the project is to work with vending machine suppliers and signatories in finding alternative solutions, which is easier said than done for things like crisp packets and sweet wrappers. Thomas was realistic: “It’s a challenging project. It’s possible at the end of the project we will see they had success removing 9 products but for one product there’s no solution.”
But, even with 8 or 9 products removed from use, it means the reach of the change will potentially be vast and could blaze a trail for other companies to follow suit. Ultimately, it will prevent several tonnes of single-use plastic from ending up in landfill.
Reducing zero single-use plastic use is the main conference theme, on which environment, climate and sustainable development minister Carole Dieschbourg will speak, as well as Mexican artist Alejandro Duran.
Registration for this event had closed at the time of publishing.