United Kingdom declares war on plastic waste

Marco Green
January 13, 2018

Consumer single-use plastics such as bottles will be removed from all government property. The plan will also continue the five pence (about eight United States cents) charge for plastic bags in shops, increase government funding for research in plastic innovation, and push efforts to support decreased pollution and plastic use in developing countries.

"We look forward to working with government to help the United Kingdom progress towards a truly circular economy by helping to reduce littering, significantly increasing recycling infrastructure, ensuring all packaging used for food and drink consumed "on the go" is captured for recycling, encouraging design for recyclability and the use of recycled materials in new low carbon products". May said she wants to extend the £0.05 (about $0.07) tax on plastic bags to smaller shops and wants research on a charge or tax for single-use plastic containers.

A statement from the British Plastics Federation countered: "The UK plastics industry shares the objective of minimising plastics waste through maximising recycling".

Within this "plastic-free" plan, supermarkets will be pushed to adopt plastic-less aisles.

"In 2015, we introduced the 5 pence charge on plastic carrier bags, we now see 9 billion fewer bags being used", said the premier, who signalled the move last week.

In the plans, the government also says it will meet all existing targets on landfill, reuse and recycling and develop ambitious future targets and milestones.

Earlier this week a government ban on the manufacture of products containing microbeads came into force as part of efforts to reduce plastic pollution. Our Environment Plan sets out how over the next 25 years we will radically reduce the waste that is choking oceans and rivers, cleanse our air of toxic pollutants and create new habitats for our most precious wildlife to thrive.

Responding to May's speech, the British Plastics Federation (BPF) said in a press release that it was "disturbed" by the tone, which "does not recognize the important benefits that the plastics industry brings to the United Kingdom, including 170,000 jobs". "Steadfast in upholding our values - not least our fierce commitment to protecting the natural environment", she will say.

"This provides for very little concrete action".

May announced the initiative during a speech today at the London Wetlands Centre.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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