Launching the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Prime Minister has set out the government’s determination to leave our environment in a better state than we found it.
She has outlined steps for a cleaner, greener Britain – with avoidable plastic waste eliminated by the end of 2042.
To help achieve this, the government will extend the 5p carrier bag charge to all retailers in England. To date, we have used nine billion fewer plastic bags as a direct consequence of introducing the charge.
The government will also work with supermarkets to encourage them to introduce plastic-free aisles in which all the food is loose.
This will give consumers the choice to make greener decisions and promote the use of less damaging plastic packaging.
To encourage industry to take more responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products and make them easier to recycle, the government will also look at how the tax system or charges could further reduce the amount of waste we create. A call for evidence on how to reduce the use of single-use plastics will begin next month.
In addition we will to inject new funding into plastics innovation through a bid into the government’s £7 billion research and development pot.
It is estimated that 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced since the 1950s.
Research indicates that without urgent action to cut demand this is likely to be 34 billion tonnes by 2050.
In the UK alone, during its recent Great British Beach Clean Up, the Marine Conservation Society found 718 pieces of litter for every 100 metre stretch of beach surveyed, and of this rubbish from food and drink made up at least one fifth.