Brussels has become the first city in Belgium to officially ban all single-use plastic from public events after a measure announced last year came into full effect on Monday, in a move touted by city officials as the first step to make the Belgian capital a “pioneer” in zero-waste.
The ban forbids all plastic cups, trays, cutlery, straws or balloons to be on display at festivals and other public events in the city of Brussels.
“We want to make the capital a pioneer in all matters zero-waste,” said the city’s Alderman for Zero Waste, Zoubida Jellab, as previously reported.
Bamboo and cardboard products will be used as an alternative to plastics, a decision which is “not the ideal solution either,” says environmental economist at KU Leuven, Johan Eyckmans, speaking to Bruzz.
The economist said that although the ban is a necessary step in achieving a 2021 EU goal of a total ban on single-use plastics, the bamboo and cardboard alternatives are a suboptimal solution.
“Bamboo and cardboard are slightly better than plastic, but also not ideal in terms of waste and environmental impact”, stated the environmental economist.
“As far as I know, there is no recycling of bamboo,” Eyckmans said, commenting that cardboard also cannot be recycled in the same way as paper because “there’s a coating on it to prevent the cardboard from leaking.”
However, this remains a step in the right direction as it raises awareness for sustainability more generally, said Eyckmans. “It’s good to point out the impact of plastic.”
The ban means anyone who offers single-use plastics at public events risks a fine or an administrative sanction. The new measure does not apply to food trucks and street vendors, unless they are on the grounds of a public event.
The Brussels Times