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Monaco has been actively working to reduce its plastic waste since 2016. The aim is to achieve zero single-use plastic waste by 2030.

Single-use bags, straws and drink stirrers, cotton buds, disposable glasses, cutlery and plates… All of these plastic products are now banned in Monaco, a testament to the Principality’s policy on combatting plastic waste.

“Reducing plastic waste is a major part of cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” explains Marie-Pierre Gramaglia, Minister of Public Works, the Environment and Urban Development.

The incineration of plastic waste accounts for around 15% of tonnage and 88% of greenhouse gas emissions in Monaco.

Nearly 1,800 billion pieces of plastic waste pollute the oceans.
1.5 million animals are killed by plastic every year.

Plastic also causes serious pollution incidents, especially in marine environments. It is responsible for 75% of ocean and sea pollution, particularly in the form of microparticles which contaminate the entire food chain. According to the WWF, 600,000 tonnes of plastic are dumped in the Mediterranean every year.

Since 2016, the Prince’s Government has therefore adopted a Waste Prevention and Management Plan for Monaco to support implementation of a policy that aims to achieve zero single-use plastic waste by 2030.

The first measure taken was to ban single-use plastic bags for packaging goods and distribute reusable fabric bags to the population. Plastic bags that are permitted in shops must be made from bio-based materials (with the percentage gradually increasing to 60% by 2025). In 2019, plastic straws and stirrers were banned and then, in 2020, it was the turn of cotton buds and disposable plastic glasses, cutlery and plates.

A billion non-recyclable straws are thrown away every day!
© Direction de la Communication / Manuel Vitali

The public policy also seeks to involve private stakeholders. In 2020, the Responsible Restaurant certification was introduced to help restaurateurs adapt their practices and replace disposable packaging and tableware. To progress on the path to zero waste, Monaco has recently launched returnable containers for takeaway sales through the MaConsigne scheme. MaConsigne app locates partner restaurants offering returnable glass containers and the collection points throughout the country.

Monaco has also signed the Ocean Plastics Charter, which brings together major governments, companies and civil society organisations. Signatory countries commit to recycling and reusing at least 55% of their plastic packaging by 2030.

Finally, it was in Monaco that the Beyond Plastic Med (BeMed) initiative was born in 2015, the result of a partnership between the Prince Albert II Foundation, the Tara Ocean Foundation, the Surfrider Foundation Europe and the Mava Foundation. Its mission is to support innovative civic solutions and influence political and legislative decisions in a way that contributes to ending plastic pollution in the Mediterranean.


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