We asked several Anthesis experts to comment on sustainability trends and topics that are emerging, changing and impacting businesses, cities and governments globally for our 2019 sustainability predictions series. In our first video, Director Debbie Hitchen discusses the sustainable plastic challenge. #AccordingtoAnthesis
What are some big changes we’re going to see in 2019 and beyond?
Plastics has been such a hot topic over the last 12 to 18 months, and I think we’re going to continue to see that trend into 2019. In particular, we’ve got a regulatory framework which is coming together and creating alignment, we’ve got a commitment and passion from business to do things differently, and we’ve got consumers who are asking the difficult questions about how we address plastics that they use every day.
What is the role of business in driving plastic waste reduction in 2019?
Business has a key role to play in helping to achieve the waste prevention agenda for plastics. In particular, I think consumers and customers alike are looking for businesses to help them to choice-edit out plastics that are hard to recycle at end-of-life or things that have high levels of sustainability impact during the production and consumption cycles.
Is there any legislation or regulation that businesses should be aware of?
In the autumn of 2018, the European Parliament voted to bring in a ban on plastic substances from 2021, and this will affect a number of different plastic products including plastics plates, plastic cutlery and plastics straws.
Many countries have brought in partial plastic bans, and other countries are looking at fiscal incentives to drive change to reduce the amount of plastic waste arising in their marketplaces too.
What changes should consumers expect to see in 2019?
Consumers will continue to see change over the next 12 months as more businesses move from their plastic packaging into alternative product streams. In particular, I think we’ll see this in food and food to go ranges where retailers and brands are looking for alternative substitutions for their plastic packaging.
But customers can also make their own choices by looking at products and deciding whether or not they are recyclable at end-of-life and whether or not they feel comfortable purchasing those products. We’d love to also see customers increase the amount of recycling that they do at home in their curbside boxes to keep plastic out of landfill.