The Products, Good Design and Plastics programme had a highly successful year in 2017, which saw many of its policy priorities adopted in legislation and the team growing with a new campaigner joining the team.
The programme divided its activities in campaigning as well as policy lobbying. On campaigning, 2017 saw a successful People’s Design Lab, which brought together more than 4,000 people across Europe to vote on the worst designed products on the market. The ‘winners’ of this years project were single-use plastic bags, styrofoam containers and non-recyclable single-use coffee capsules which were voted as the worst designed products on the market today. In addition, 7 workshops on better design took place across Europe, where citizens were engaged in how to make everyday products long lasting, repairable, reusable and at the end of their long life, recyclable.
The campaign on plastics gained momentum across Europe. The Break Free From Plastic movement, launched and led by Zero Waste Europe since 2017 has doubled its number of members 2017, covering now all European subregions and bringing together expertise all along the plastics value chain. As a founder of the Brussels-based coalition Rethink Plastic Alliance, ZWE had a distinctive role in promoting prevention of plastic use and the business alternatives to the single-use plastics. The publication of a paper on reduction targets was well received and influenced the plastic debate in Brussels, which resulted on the commission’s compromise to table legislation on the reduction of some single-use plastic items.
2017 also saw the publication of two reports on Extended Producer Responsibility, making the case for the need to introduce the right economic incentives to design out waste and ensure high collection of waste products and materials.