We are Plastic Free Plux, a grassroots initiative that strives to eliminate single-use plastics at Place du Luxembourg in Brussels.
This iconic square in front of the European Parliament is the place to be for many of the EU officials and bureaucrats for an after-work drink. Unfortunately, all the beverages served outdoors come in single-use plastic cups. The result? 75+ trash bags full of plastic waste on Friday morning after each night of unsustainable fun.
The Plastic Free Plux movement has therefore campaigned to encourage people to bring their own, reusable alternatives to the square. Followed by a deployment of our own reusable cups via a deposit-and-return scheme. About 100 reusable goblets are rented out every Thursday night, saving about 450 single-use cups each time. The cup generated a lot of interest and people started to expect us on our usual spot every Thursday.
Currently we are working on a permanent solution that does not require our intervention on the square. Therefore, we are currently guiding bar owners to introduce our cup system within their bars. We bring the other players in the value chain, most importantly the breweries, around the table to facilitate the logistics and create new opportunities for branding and marketing. For example, we are working together with the Sustainability and Procurement department of one of Belgium’s most iconic breweries to work out an alternative for all the bars and events they supply. One of the biggest Belgian breweries ABInbev has shown a lot of interest in our work and is eager to cooperate with us in the creation of the next generation of reusable cups.
This way, we are testing and improving a stakeholder model with the aim of making Place du Luxembourg completely single-use plastic free. This model will be replicable throughout the rest of the city and beyond. To allow citizens around the world to make their city Plastic Free, we will open source this model in our Plastic Free Blueprint, which will be available to other bars.
Plastic Free Plux’s short term-goal is to eliminate single-use cups on Place du Luxembourg completely by the end of 2019 and publish our Blueprint. From 2020 onwards, we will target new neighbourhoods of Brussels, joined by citizens and bars who follow our example. We dream of a single-use plastic free Brussels where going out does not result in polluting the Earth.
The Plastic Free Plux team is very passionate and constantly looking for new fronts to fight plastic pollution. Support from 1% for our Planet would allow us to professionalize our operations, and scale up our efforts. This also gives the opportunity to engage with larger players in the industry and with policy makers, so that we can move the discussion towards practical solutions for plastic pollution given a societal context and real-world conditions.