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TU Delft Delta Plastic Products Disposable Cutlery Cormet
A plan to ban single-use plastic products such as disposable plates and straws has been agreed. (Photo: Marjolein van der Veldt, Delta)

Today the EU reached an agreement to ban single-use plastic products. What will TU Delft do about plastic cutlery in canteens, Kristina Reinders and Lenie Wasmus wonder.

At the end of August, in Delta we asked TU Delft about the plastic cutlery in the canteens. We questioned TU Delft’s environmental awareness and stated that the cutlery is of such bad quality that the knives do not cut fruit and the forks break when eating kroketten.

TU Delft responded that, one, using disposable cutlery is more environmentally friendly than cleaning non-disposable cutlery. Two, TU Delft stated that the plastic cutlery is made of renewable organic materials such as cornstarch and sugar cane and that the separation of the disposable cutlery will be improved. However, the canteen at Civil Engineering still only has one bin where all the waste is collected, so we doubt if there is any separation and recycling at all. Furthermore, TU Delft did not respond to the poor quality of the cutlery so the knives still do not cut properly.

Today, 19 December, European lawmakers  reached an agreement on a ban of single-use plastic products. The ban is expected to come into effect in two years' time. Now our question is: how will the university respond to this new law? We propose using traditional metal cutlery and ceramic plates again! This would both meet the law and improve usability. The knives will work again!

We hope that our continued conversation will keep TU Delft policy sharp (unlike our knives).

Kristina Reinders and Lenie Wasmus, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences            

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