A European Green Deal
Ursula von der Leyen’s name was initially not in the top drawer of candidates to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission. And yet, after an unexpected turn in the labyrinth of European decision making, she emerged from the shadows to become the first woman to take the top-most European job. As the world is starting to understand von der Leyen’s agenda, it is becoming clear that her vision for Europe has many shades of green. A mother of 7 children, von der Leyen outlines her aspiration as follows:
“For the generation of my children, Europe is a unique aspiration. It is an aspiration of living in a natural and healthy continent. Of living in a society where you can be who you are, live where you like, love who you want and aim as high as you want. It is an aspiration of a world full of new technologies and age-old values. Of a Europe that takes the global lead on the major challenges of our times.”
In this context, we are highlighting some cutting-edge European solutions to plastic pollution. You can use your Ubuntoo login to browse our solutions as you read this newsletter.
A European Green New Deal
New European Commission President Von der Leyen committed to issuing a new European Green Deal within her first 100 days in office. Based on her document “A Union that strives for more – my agenda for Europe”, we can expect that the focus will be on climate change action (buoyed by the youth climate movement). But we should also see an accelerated effort on plastic pollution and specifically micro-plastics.
- A first European Climate Law, with 2050 target to become the first climate-neutral continent.
- De-carbonization of energy-intensive industries, and a “Just Transition Fund” to support people and regions most affected.
- Part of the European Investment Bank to be turned into the “European Climate Bank”; the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan will support €1 trillion of investment over the next decade.
- A new Biodiversity Strategy 2030 + support of farmers with a new “Farm to Fork” strategy.
- Zero-pollution ambition: a new circular economy action plan. The single-use plastics policy will be extended with a focus on tackling micro-plastics.
Our Ubuntoo database houses 275 Europe-based solutions – and counting. In this newsletter, we highlight only a few unexpected and highly innovative examples. For a more comprehensive overview, please enter “Europe” in the location search option on the Solutions page on Ubuntoo.
- At Mestic, Eindhoven designer Jalila Essaidi is turning manure (yes indeed: cow-pats!) into haute couture, creating a manure-based fabric that has been used to make clothes
- 4 London-based designers at The Shellworks found a way to create a biodegradable and recyclable bioplastic using lobster shell waste
- Collection / Recovery:
We are happy to announce that Ubuntoo has been asked by VERGE to select a couple of candidates to participate in the Accelerate at VERGE 19 fast-pitch competition —featuring entrepreneurs and startups with innovative circular economy technologies, products, and services. Selected candidates will get to pitch during the VERGE 19 conference to a live audience of over 3,000 thought leaders and a global online audience. For those innovators who are interested, please send an email to email@example.com.
Ubuntoo Forum Discussions
An Ubuntoo member is looking for a sustainable alternative to printable Foamex boards (widely used in the signage industry; currently usually PVC). If you know of solutions, please respond using the link above.
Here is a selection of news articles that caught our attention:
- The UK government will lead global innovation thanks to new business and government investment (representing £209M fund). With this initiative, it hopes to reduce carbon impact by using plants, wood chipping, and food waste instead of oils to make plastics and packaging. The funding will also allow manufacturers to find ways to cut waste in the supply chain, develop new business models and create new sustainable recyclable materials.
- Five EU national promotional banks and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are teaming up to launch a €10billion initiative to promote circular economy projects.
- WRAP recently published new design guidelines for household rigid plastic packaging aimed at increasing recyclability.
- Costa Rica is set to ban the import and sale of polystyrene due to environmental concerns over the packaging material. Signed into law last week, it will come into effect in 2021, the same year the government has said the country will become the first plastic-free and carbon-free country in the world.
- Packaging Europe announced the 25 Finalists that will compete for Top Sustainability Prizesduring the upcoming packaging Sustainability Awards 2019.
We loved watching this webinar by Ubuntoo member Professor Ramani Narayanan from Michigan State University titled “Is Biodegradability a solution for plastic waste pollution?”
Watch Professor Narayan's webinar below