Government reveals plans to eliminate avoidable plastic waste

Posted January 12, 2018

As part of this effort, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, this week, will set out the 25-year environmental agenda and address the rising plastic pollution in the country's oceans.

In relation to extending the levy on plastic bags, the BRC says that it has always supported universal coverage of the carrier bag charge, and that retailers are continuing to reduce their own packaging, and ensure that the packaging they do use is recyclable.

A spokesperson for environment secretary Michael Gove said these issues would from part of a consultation later this year.

WWF Chief Executive Tanya Steele welcomed "any step" to reduce plastic waste, adding that plastic-free aisles can spur change.

There was no confirmation in the PM's speech of a suggested 25p charge on the millions of disposable coffee cups used each year - of which only a tiny percentage get recycled.

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'Today I can confirm that the United Kingdom will demonstrate global leadership.

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".

"For plastic to become valued and never become waste it's imperative that everybody from those producing it (brands, retailers, food service businesses, packaging suppliers and plastic producers), collecting it (local and city authorities), sorting it and recycling it (waste management and recycling sector), to those using it (citizens) as well as Government, NGOs and media are involved".

Mrs May's Tory government will look at how the tax system or charges could further reduce the amount of waste created.

The 5p charge for plastic bags could be extended to cover almost all retailers as part of the government's plan to tackle our "throwaway culture".

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"As it is produced, we will encourage manufacturers to take responsibility for the impacts of their products and rationalise the number of different types of plastics they use", she said.

Environmental group Greenpeace UK said, "the measures announced today don't match the scale of the environmental crisis we face".

The plan follows a call for evidence on reward and return schemes for drink containers, including plastic bottles.

In November 2016, then Minister for Housing Simon Coveney wrote to the European Commission to inform them of the Government's plans to introduce legislation banning microbeads in 2017.

Britain will direct some of its worldwide development aid towards tackling pollution and reducing plastic waste overseas.

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The Environmental Pillar - a coalition of 26 national environmental organisations - welcomed the move by the United Kingdom, and called on the Irish Government to show more urgency in bringing about policy change to tackle the "growing scourge of plastic pollution".