Tuscany is trying to beat Europe at its own legal game. There are now several Europe-wide proposals meant to minimize the use of plastics that will be ratified as laws by 2021; however, Tuscany has already instated several laws that will be implemented by the end of this year, 2019.
Hospitals and universities through the region have banned the usage of single-use plastic silver- and tableware, such as forks, plates, and cups, on their premises. This change will be in full swing in three months, set to be completely enforced by September.
Another change is that beaches in Tuscany have banned the use of single-use plastic products this summer. Local communities will instead insist upon the use of biodegradable or bio-compostable products, which are slightly more expensive than single-use plastic products. There is only one business in Tuscany at this moment that produces and sells these products, but with these decrees their monopoly will not last that long.
Another initiative is the “Clean Archipelago:” fishermen are encouraged to bring waste that they catch while fishing to shore and throw it away at no legal or monetary cost. In Pisa, the port was the first in Italy to ban the use of plastic materials at the port itself, calling the initiative “Free Port from Plastic”.
Plastic waste is a great danger to the environment. There are approximately 280,000,000 tons of plastic waste produced per year, with 8000000 tons ending up in the ocean. More than 80% of garbage that floats around the sea consists of plastic products, especially in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Most plastic products that cause the problem is microplastics, not plastic tableware, but this is a step in the right direction.