Sector News

UK public backs tough action on plastic waste in record numbers

September 4, 2018
Chemical Value Chain

An unprecedented number of people have backed tough action against plastic waste in a government consultation that could pave the way for a series of fiscal measures in the autumn budget.

The government will say response is evidence that there is broad public support for reducing single-use plastic waste through measure such as a “latte levy” on coffee cups, similar to the plastic bag charge, and tax incentives for recycling.

There were more than 162,000 respondents to the Treasury’s call for evidence, including individuals, businesses and campaign groups, with the vast majority ­­­expressing support for action, the department said.

The government has already and is exploring extending the 5p plastic bag charge, as well as the possibility of aisles in supermarkets stocking products with plastic-free packaging.

It is also examining a , as well as the introduction of a deposit return scheme to increase recycling.

The Treasury said it was now clear there was widespread support for further action including:

  • Measures to reduce demand for single-use plastics such as coffee cups and takeaway boxes.
  • Encouraging greater use of recycled plastic in manufacturing.
  • Discouraging the use of difficult to recycle plastics, such as carbon black plastic.

Speaking during a visit to a cleanup operation on Perranporth beach in Cornwall, the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick, said: “Tackling the scandal of plastic pollution is one of our top priorities and we know the public is right behind us. I’ve been overwhelmed by the public support and the responses we’ve received will be invaluable as we develop our plans for using the tax system to combat this.

“Our duty to leave the environment in a better state than we found it is absolutely clear and what we’ve set out today is another important step to ensuring a cleaner, greener future for Britain.”

One of the organisations taking part in the cleanup, Surfers Against Sewage, said the response to the consultation showed the demand for immediate action.

Its chief executive, Hugo Tagholm, said: “This is a clear indication of the public appetite for more fiscal interventions to help reduce plastic pollution littering our environment, from inner-city streets and countryside to our oceans.”

Louise Edge, a senior plastic pollution campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “This is practically a people’s plastic charter calling on the government to tax single-use plastic, incentivise recycled content, get rid of problem plastics and boost recycling rather than incineration.

“The so-called latte levy on disposable coffee cups seems inevitable now, but that should be just the tip of the iceberg.”

By Jessica Elgot

Source: The Guardian

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