Just in time for the European week on waste prevention in 2022, three municipalities at the German North Sea (Niebüll, Wangerland and the island of Helgoland) and one major city at the German Baltic Sea (Lübeck) decided to sign an Action Plan developed in the framework of the Interreg-Europe-project CAPonLITTER.
In coordination with the participating municipalities individual measures were identified and included in the Action Plan, which was implemented during Phase 2. The results achieved were presented by the German project partner, the Umweltbundesamt (UBA) at the CAPonLITTER Final Event, which took place on 17 May 2023, in Brussels.
Since 2015 the municipality of Niebüll (North Sea) follows its motto: „Half as much. Twice as much!” Beside activities to raise consumer awareness such as the distribution of tooth brushes from bamboo or the arrangement of art workshops, the town is engaged in clean-ups and social media activities and is member of various networks such as Partners of National Parks. When CoL started Niebüll already had a statute in place to limit the usage of single use plastic packaging and products at public events. During CoL the statute has been further developed and efforts intensified to effectively apply it e.g. by carrying out random inspections. In addition, a reusable campaign was undertaken and 2000 cups branded as Niebüll-cups were retailed by the municipality in the summer of 2023 as a starting point. Participating caterers can rent the cups for free to use them for public events.
The implementation of the Action Plan in the fairtrade municipality Wangerland is a joined effort of the municipality and the Wangerland Tourism GmbH, which is in charge of touristic developments in the region and the operation of public touristic facilities. As partner company of the national park Waddensea the Wangerland Tourism GmbH organizes clean-ups, sustainable events and informs the local gastronomy about reusable systems. Wangerland developed a statute to limit the usage of single use plastic products at public events adopted in summer 2023. In addition, the municipality put a new public tap water fountain in operation in the townhall. A concept for fair, sustainable and plastic-free public procurement is currently developed and expected to be finalized in August 2023 for implementation thereafter. In the procurement of the Wangerland Tourism GmbH a new project management tool has been introduced based on two lists with „Do`s“ and „Don´ts“ stimulating among other criteria the reduction of packaging waste, short transport ways and certification schemes.
At the offshore island of Helgoland (North Sea) duty free shopping is very common and until 2014 up to one million single use plastic bags were issued annually. That changed due to the „green Anna“ and “de green steer” initiatives: many retailers changed for returnable bags. Furthermore, returnable cups at public events, trash collection cages and beach-cleanups were introduced and more than 50 facilities started applying criteria for sustainable operation. During CoL the major of the island decided to initiate a statute to improve sustainability at events, in public procurement and for other themes. Two new drinking water fountains were sourced and installed, one of them in the town hall. In autumn 2022 reusable boxes were purchased for the Youth Hostel to improve sustainability of the lunch pack. Regarding the system for returnable cups a new partnership with a shipping company was launched in the beginning of 2023:returnable cups can now also be returned onboard.
The Hanseatic city of Lübeck (Baltic Sea) had an order to apply returnable systems at events in public spaces. However,in many cases exemptions were made. While implementing the CoL Action Plan a focus was set to ensure that these provisions become better actionable and more effective which was accompanied by the compilation of info materials, training courses for persons in charge and a guidance to reduce litter at major events. In addition, during CoL a master plan on climate protection was developed and published in March 2023, which includes among other activities the execution of a plastic inventory by the city. Although the political decision is still pending,the budgetary funds for this initiative are already included in the planning for 2024. Another activity of the master plan foresees the extension of the order for returnable systems by renting to third parties. In addition, a poster competition was carried out, where pupils were invited to bring forward their ideas to promote reusable systems. The winning posters can not be downloaded from the website of the municipality.
CAPonLITTER significantly facilitated networking of municipalities and other relevant actors. The hands-on exchange of experiences first-hand led to a common understanding about actions required, although the municipalities involved followed individual emphasis in their measures taken.