Plastic-free Milan planned, experiment started

Milan to ban disposable plastics by 2021 in line with EU diretive.

Milan city hall has teamed up with Italy’s environmental league Legambiente and shopkeepers’ confederation Confcommercio to start preparing a plastic-free Milan.

The aim is to eliminate non-biodegradable plastics before the EU directive banning them comes into effect in 2021.

In the experimental phase, bars, cafés and restaurants in the city boroughs of Isola and Niguarda – along with their customers – are being encouraged to manage without disposable plastic cups, glasses, plates and cutlery, bags and other containers.

“The aim of the trial is to promote virtuous attitudes and behaviour and change consumer habits,” explained councillors Cristina Tajani and Marco Granelli, announcing the scheme. “We then hope to successfully roll out the scheme across the city.”

The initiative is a recognition that the organisation of sorted waste, for years believed to be the solution to the problem of plastics, has proved inadequate. Efforts to deal with the mounting quantity of plastic waste will now need to concentrate on reducing the use of disposable products and substituting single-use items with alternative materials like bioplastics.

The alternatives are available, say the organisers, and the challenge is now to convince consumers.

Volunteers from Legambiente have been canvassing the 54 bars and restaurants and about 150 local shops in Via Borsieri, Via Thaon de Revel, Via Ornato and Via Graziano Imperatore to promote the trial, and to provide window stickers to explain the initiative to customers.

And shop-keepers, barmen and restaurateurs anywhere in the city are welcome to join in by contacting Legambiente.