Theresa May proposes plastic-free supermarket aisles in green strategy
11th January 2018 | Recycling
Theresa May has announced a war on plastic waste, with proposed policies including plastics-free aisles in supermarkets and a tax on takeaway containers. The prime minister set out her ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within 25 years in a speech in which she promised the UK would lead internationally on environmental issues. But campaign groups said the aspirations would need to be backed up by legislation.
They also warned that leaving the EU risked weakening environmental protections, and called for the government to promise it would not water down green standards in exchange for rapid post-Brexit trade deals.
May’s speech, unveiling a much-heralded 25-year plan for the environment in England drawn up by Michael Gove’s environment department with input from pressure groups, focused heavily on plastic waste, which she called “one of the great environmental scourges of our time.”
Plastic free supermarket aisles
As reported before the speech, May promised to extend the hugely successful 5p levy on plastic bags to smaller shops, and seek evidence on a possible charge on single-use plastic containers such as takeaway boxes. Other initiatives include a plan to urge supermarkets to introduce aisles without any plastic packaging, where all food is sold loose, along with new research funding for “plastics innovation” and aid to help developing nations deal with their plastic waste.
May said, “In years to come, I think people will be shocked at how today we allow so much plastic to be produced needlessly.” Much of this waste ends up in waterways and oceans, May said, with one in three fish caught in the Channel containing pieces of plastic.
She said, “Today I can confirm that the UK will demonstrate global leadership. We must reduce the demand for plastic, reduce the number of plastics in circulation and improve our recycling rates.”
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