Consultations launched on reducing plastic and waste

By agency reporter
February 19, 2019

On 18 February 2019, the government launched a number of consultations aimed at overhauling the waste system, cutting plastic pollution, and moving towards a more circular economy. The government "seeks views on measures to reduce the amount of unnecessary and difficult to recycle packaging and increase the amount of packaging that can and is recycled, through reforms to the packaging producer responsibility regulations. It also proposes that the full net costs of managing packaging waste are placed on those businesses who use packaging and who are best placed to influence its design. This is consistent with the polluter pays principle and the concept of extended producer responsibility.

The proposed measures include a tax on the production and import of plastic packaging with less than 30 per cent recycled content, and a deposit return scheme for cans and bottles.

Julian Kirby, Friends of the Earth plastic campaigner said: “A radical overhaul of waste strategy is urgently needed to deal with our waste crisis – but this must include bold targets to substantially cut the waste that squanders precious resources, blights our environment and harms our wildlife.

“A plastic tax should give firms a real incentive to use more recycled plastic in their products, leading to less waste and less pollution. But to be truly effective the tax must be regularly revised to periodically increase the proportion of recycled material that manufacturers use.

“A deposit return scheme is long-overdue – it’s been successful in other countries, it’s popular with the public and it will cut the amount of bottles and cans chucked out each year. The scheme must cover all containers, not just small ones.”

“These proposals are welcome steps forward – but bigger strides are needed if we are truly going to deal with the consequences of our throwaway society.”

Friends of the Earth also:

  • welcomed plans for more consistent recycling, but is concerned that current policies have led to an increase in incineration
  • welcomed the commitment to food waste collections across the whole of England, which is long overdue 
  • called for a substantial cut in the amount of plastic we use, including legislation to end further plastic pollution through the phase-out of non-essential plastics.

* Access the consultations here

* Friends of the Earth


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