BILL Esterson MP has joined calls for the UK to cut the production of single-use plastic by half by 2025 and eliminate it entirely in the next 15 years, after a survey suggested that households in the UK throw away 1.85 billion pieces of plastic packaging each week.
Mr Esterson said the Government must take action after The Big Plastic Count, a nationwide survey by Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic which took place in May this year, revealed that each UK household throws away an average of 66 pieces of plastic packaging every week.
Almost 250,000 people from nearly 100,000 households took part in The Big Plastic Count. Food and drink packaging made up an overwhelming majority (83%) of the waste generated during the count.
Mr Esterson said: “Food and drink packaging needs a rethink. It is not enough to recycle – the plastic we produce must be reduced in the first place. The Government must seriously consider the findings from the report and put in place an action plan. Too much of our plastic is sent to landfill or is incinerated, both of which emit huge amounts of harmful greenhouse gases and air pollution.
“Our current reliance on exporting plastic can’t continue as many countries are rightly bringing in bans to protect themselves from imported plastic waste.
“A deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and incentives to use reusable packaging are vital.”
The Greenpeace/Everyday Plastic report found:
- The most commonly counted items were fruit and vegetable packaging (1.02 million pieces), closely followed by snack bags, packets and wrappers (1.01 million pieces)
- 12% of plastic waste is likely to be recycled at reprocessing facilities in the UK. 17% is being shipped overseas while almost 46% is incinerated, with the remaining 25% buried in landfill.
- The majority of the plastic packaging waste thrown away by UK households is not commonly collected for recycling at the kerbside. 62% of recorded pieces of plastic are either not collected or poorly collected by UK local authorities.
Greenpeace/Everyday Plastic is calling for the UK government to:
- Set a target to cut the production of single-use plastics by half by 2025 and eliminate single-use plastics entirely over the next 15 years
- Introduce universally designed reusable alternatives to single-use plastic which take into account the needs of disabled people.
- Introduce a full ban on plastic waste exports
- Set up an all-in deposit return scheme for plastic bottles
- Place a moratorium on new incineration capacity