Beginning 1 October, the City of Tallinn is banning the serving of food and drinks in single-use plastic dishes and the use of plastic utensils.
The use of dishes and cutlery made of compostable, biodegradable plastic will still be permitted if the which are certified as meeting the EVS-EN 13432 or equivalent standard, according to a press release.
Public event organisers in Tallinn will also be required to ensure the sorting of at least mixed municipal waste, biodegradable waste and recyclable packaging at all waste disposal sites; waste receptacales must be clearly marked.
Pursuant to city council regulations, the use of bottles and cans subject to deposits will not be regulated at public events.
According to Tallinn Deputy Mayor Züleyxa Izmailova (Greens), the goal of banning single-use plastic dishes at public events is to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced, increase awareness of waste as well as encourage the use of reusable dishes.
"Single-use dishes containing plastic make up the largest portion of waste produced at public events," Ms Izmailova explained. "Plastic waste includes material that is easily blown away and which decomposes very slowly in nature, posing a hazard to both land and marine biota and polluting the environment."
According to the deputy mayor, the sorting of waste at public events will hopefully influence changes in residents' behaviour as well as increase their awareness of waste disposal.
"The continual improvement of residents' awareness of waste recycling and reuse is likewise one measure that helps to fulfil the objectives set in Tallinn's waste management plan," she added.
Alternatives to single-use dishes and utensils currently available include options made of cardboard, wood, bamboo, palm leaf, sugar cane and other compostable materials. Another option is to offer the use of reusable cups and dishes for a deposit.
Dishes and utensils made of compostable materials are already sold by companies selling single-use packaging.
Editor: Aili Vahtla