*In sustainable cooperation with ecover
Why plastic is not just plastic, sometimes plastic can be “better” than “bio-plastic” and how waste separation really works… you can find out today in this blog post.
On Wednesday the 10.10, I had the honor to be part of the Trend Summit. The Summit was all about plastics, recycling, and sustainability in general. Among others, there were representatives from ecover, who introduced us the new bottles, where the bottle body is made of 100% recycled plastic.
Sebastian Bayer from dm Germany, Nora Sophie Griefahn as co-founder of the non-profit Cradle to Cradle e.V. and Norbert Völl from Grüner Punkt have been part of it. Nora introduced the concept Cradle to Cradle. For me, one of the most exciting projects and contributions of the Summit, but more about that later.
10:00 – we all met at the Rubbish Café. Maybe you’ve heard of it. The first “Rubbish 4 Coffee” opened in Australia, and as so often, our trend city Berlin is following. The Rubbish Café, known as Hermann Eicke Café, supports the recycling process of plastic with all its might.
The nice thing is, we all get something out of it. Apart from the positive contribution of plastic processing, we can bring our plastic there and melt it down. The plastic then becomes a cool closure clip or other things like pens. For 4 days the café provided us with a hot drink in exchange for an old piece of plastic. How cool is that?
After we recycled our plastic, we had breakfast and then went on to the sisterMAG office. Wow, it’s been an absolute dream. The office glowed green and the beautiful new ecover bottles had been represented amazingly. One reason why it is so difficult to design 100% recyclable packaging is the design. This is what ecover struggled with the most. The more colors that are used, for example, the more difficult the recycling process becomes. However, I find the packaging very successful and the rest of the cycle is also right. Starting with clean ingredients, ecover is also a sustainable company, with clean raw material procurement and clean water. As it should be for cleaning products, you could at least think. In reality, however, this is more the exception than the rule.
After marveling at the sisterMAG office, the speakers of the Trend Summit Panel greeted us. It was super exciting and I was allowed to learn some new things. Of course, I share my favorite learnings with you here.
Cradle to Cradle:
Cradle to Cradle is a recycling concept, which covers and promotes the whole cycle to other concepts. From the beginning, the end is also considered.
“The goal is not the zero mission, you don’t want to get out to zero, but make a positive contribution,” says Nora Sophie Griefahn.
Products should not only be used but also CONSUMPTION and in this way not generate any waste at all in the conventional sense.
For example, a detergent for biological systems must also be biologically designed and compostable without harmful residues.
Not all plastics are alike:
- Every year, 60 million tons of plastic are produced, only 3 million of which are recycled.
- Every German produces an average of 37 kg of plastic waste only from packaging waste per year.
- 35% of global plastics consumption is due to packaging alone.
These are just a few of the facts that we should be aware of and that we can work on. However, it is not so easy to say that every plastic is bad and bio-plastic is getting better.
For example, the production of bio-plastic from maize can cause far more environmental damage than the production of plastic, because the maize is often sprayed so heavily that the pesticide load is higher.
If we take a closer look at bio-plastics, there are two types:
- Biodegradable: material does not have to be organic
- Biological material: product does not have to be biodegradable
- There is a lot of bio-plastic, which is completely compostable, but sometimes has to lie in the bio-bin for 2 weeks. The garbage is often emptied before the plastic is composted.
- Often people simply throw bio-plastic into nature with the thought that it rots anyway.
So it can make sense to recycle already existing plastic and to get new plastic from it. Of course, the worst thing about plastic is that it ends up in our oceans. That’s why it’s always best to avoid packaging and plastic as much as possible.
My solutions/ how I handle it these days:
- I have my organic garbage directly in the bucket, empty it every 2-3 days and then wash it every time.
- I try to do without my Café to Go and use my bamboo cup instead.
- My shampoo is made of plastic, but pesticide-free. The optimal solution would, of course, be an unpacked shampoo soap.
- I use paper bags until they travel and always have a cloth bag with me or in my backpack to be able to do without bags.
- Thanks to my parents I have been using ecover products since I moved out.
What goes into the yellow bin? Waste separation is important
I thought I knew what was going in the yellow bin, but at the Trend Summit I quickly realized that there were still a few gaps in my knowledge. Generally, it’s different in every city, but there are a few things that we can consider everywhere and that already help a bit.
A short digression: to my ignorance and perhaps also yours, the Green Dot says nothing about which ton it belongs in, but only shows that it complies with the regulations of the Packaging Ordinance. In other words, the green dot is not the same as the yellow dot.
- Cardboard that is coated and therefore difficult to tear (e.g. milk); easily tearable cardboard is thrown into the waste paper.
- Throw the aluminum lid into the yellow bin separately from the plastic cup!
- The Net of Citrus Fruits
- plant pots
Of course, a sustainable diet is also part of the plastic reduction. Sustainable, healthy and sustainable in production.
After all the input from the Trend Summit, we were able to enjoy the wonderful food of my Foodie friend David. He is currently working on the first vegan, ZERO WASTE CONCEPT Store FREA, which will soon open in Berlin. I’m really looking forward to it and hope to meet some of you there. I will certainly give workshops there :).
Do you also deal with the topic of plastics and tips for less rubbish? I am very happy if you share your experiences here so that we can all benefit from it!