United Kingdom commits to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by 2042


The prime minister set out her ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within 25 years in a speech yesterday in which she promised the United Kingdom would lead internationally on environmental issues.

"In 2015, we introduced the 5 pence charge on plastic carrier bags, we now see 9 billion fewer bags being used", said the premier, who signalled the move last week.

The commitment is part of the government's 25-year plan to improve the natural environment.

They say the plans could simply be shelved if they become inconvenient and argued the promise to stop "avoidable" plastic waste is too vague.

I understand that the document will cover many policy areas, including: managing land sustainably; enhancing nature and recovering wildlife; increasing people's health and well-being through nature; resource efficiency, reduction of pollution and waste and protecting and improving the global environment.

Commenting on the plan, EIC executive director Matthew Farrow said:"Prime Ministerial speeches on the environment are an endangered species, so it is very welcome to hear Theresa May emphasise the crucial importance of the environment, the number of green jobs, the interdependence of economic growth and environmental progress, and the scourge of plastic waste".

Theresa May's proposals include plastic free aisles in supermarkets to allow shoppers to buy fruit and vegetables that are not packaged with plastic and extending the 5p charge on plastic bags to smaller shops.

She suggested fruit, vegetables and other fresh foods should be sold loose instead of in plastic packaging and said the United Kingdom government will work with supermarkets to encourage them to introduce plastic-free aisles in which all food is loose.

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The Government said it had contributed to a 90% fall in the use of plastic bags.

Charges and taxes on single-use items, for example takeaway containers, will also be considered.

Greenpeace called the omission "a glaring gap" in a plan that it described as "a missed opportunity" to tackle the UK's plastic problem.

Core plastics strategies outlined in the document involve promoting more efficient use of resources through better reuse, remanufacturing and recycling - combined with efforts to reduce consumption of disposable plastic products.

Under the new proposals, people could receive 5p for every plastic bottle they return to the shops.

The extended plan would encompass small businesses including corner shops and cover nearly all plastic bags.

It's also reported the government will also use United Kingdom aid money to help developing nations reduce their own waste and will invest in "plastics innovation".

It will also seek to strike an accord with the Commonwealth on reducing plastic waste in the oceans when it hosts the group's biennial summit in April.