UUK’s new plastic waste plan does not go far enough, say environmentalists
15th January 2018 | Recycling
New measures by Britain to turn the tide on plastic waste do not go far enough, environmentalists said on Friday. Unveiling a new environmental agenda, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday Britain would eradicate avoidable plastic waste in the next quarter-century.
The moves – including extending a 5p charge for a single-use plastic bag to all retailers and introducing packaging-free aisles in supermarkets – were welcomed by campaigners but also criticised for missing an opportunity to do more to protect the planet.
“What we need is serious action immediately. Whether it’s ocean plastics, air pollution or climate change, there’s a huge price to pay for every day that goes by without progress,” said Leonie Cooper on the environment committee of the London Assembly – a body elected to hold the mayor’s office to account.
Plastic waste plan
At current rates, in 25 years’ time, British people would have used 192.5 billion plastic bottles, she said. Two-thirds of all plastic packaging in Britain ends up being landfilled or burned, according to research by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
“There must be better recycling systems, which avoid confusion for citizens and have better economies of scale,” said the foundation’s Rob Opsomer.
Eight million tonnes of plastic – bottles, packaging, and other waste – are dumped into the ocean every year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, says the United Nations Environment Programme. If current pollution rates continue, there will be more plastic in the sea and fish by 2050.
Environment groups said the most glaring omission on Ms May’s scheme was the lack of support for deposit return schemes that pay consumers to return plastic bottles after use and are common in many parts of the world including Denmark, Germany and Australia.
On this issue, Scotland has taken the lead.
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