Is There a Solution For Single-use Plastics?

If we don't change anything, by 2050 we could have more plastic waste in our oceans than fish. We need to act – everyone from industry and trade associations to politics, restaurant operators and consumers. Why around table is a good starting point for this.

At present, every minute one garbage truck full of plastic waste ends up in our oceans and an island of floating plastic debris already three times the size of France is gyrating in the Pacific.

Plastics, this invention of the post-World War II world, has revolutionised our lives in many respects. Countless objects - from cars to spacecraft all the way to medicine - would not have been feasible without plastic materials. But improper disposal and thoughtless handling of plastic waste have turned into an outsized threat for marine life in our oceans and coastal regions.

We need to act - all of us. Solutions must be found, and innovations driven forward. We at METRO are convinced that we will best master these challenges if we act in concert; if we rely on strong partnerships and dialogue; if we bundle our strengths and our know-how. That is why we organised a round table with representatives from companies operating along the complete plastics value chain including restaurant operators and caterers as well as politicians and scientific institutions and embarked on it: on our journey towards a world without single-use plastics - towards a circular economy and carefully selected alternatives. In the videos below, some of the participants who were available to answer a few questions after the round table event tell us why this is important.

Dr. Henning Wilts, Head of the Circular Economy Division of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy

"We have produced a total of 6 billion tons of plastic waste of which we have only recycled a mere 7%. This means that, in the long-term perspective, we cannot afford to have single-use products."

 

Frank Kolvenbach, Head of Sales Germany, PAPSTAR GmbH

"For us, this is not a question of abandoning single-use plastics, but of making single-use plastics sustainable. This can be achieved via the raw materials variants and also via the disposal routes."

Joachim Nolte, Key Account Manager, INTERSEROH Dienstleistungs GmbH

"Only in a joint effort, we can succeed in creating such a circular economy a cycle and keep the products within this economy – and then we will have moved away from single-use plastics. And this is the solution."

Kathrin Lutter, Head of Catering & Events, METRO Campus Services GmbG

"We need to find a way out of the one-way for a green planet and develop a self-image for alternative solutions."

Kay Küsters, Owner of Big Hug Barbecue Dormagen

"We must find a way out of the one-way, because economics always needs an ecological ulterior motive, as we see in the filthy oceans."

In late September, METRO announced a >> self-commitment to reducing its own plastics footprint and in late October it additionally signed the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s >>New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.