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Christmas markets in North Rhine-Westphalia eye plastics ban

The use of plastics in Germany has been increasing and states are contemplating how to handle the problem

  • November 30, 2019 17:00
  • Author Anton Stoyanov
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Cities in the German region of North Rhine-Westphalia have been aching for solutions on how to fight the rising use of plastics in the country. The use of plastics in Germany reached a peak back in 2017 when the country generated 18.7 million tons of plastic waste – 226.5 kg per person.

While overall recycling rates in Germany are high by default – amounting to almost 70%, the percentage barely reaches 50% when it comes to plastics. This puts a significant strain on the environment and has forced citizens and stakeholders alike to look for solutions to this budding problem.

Leading by example

The latest innovative solution comes from the local governments of Cologne and Düsseldorf. Their world-famous traditional Christmas markets will prohibit the use of plastic packaging altogether, instead opting for containers made out of glass or porcelain or other alternative materials. This is in addition to the measures implemented in Düsseldorf which include a total ban on plastic cutlery, straws and bags.

When it comes to cuisine, however, organisers admit that it is nigh impossible to completely avoid using plastics – stating that this goal currently remains out of reach.

Nonetheless, other cities across North Rhine-Westphalia have been inspired by local authorities in Bonn and Münster. In the former, they will strive to use as many sustainable solutions as possible, without compromising the hygiene of the Christmas market by completely banning the use of plastics. Meanwhile, in the latter, authorities claim to have begun brainstorming future solutions to be implemented in the following years – building upon to excellent examples of other cities in the region like Cologne and Düsseldorf.

Similar attempts at reducing the use of plastics will certainly end up becoming significant contributors to Germany’s fight against climate change and other cities should also look for such opportunities.

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