"Plastics: we can’t live without them, but we can be killed by them if we don’t deal with them properly," said European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans as the EU has adopted the first ever Europe-wide plastics strategy today (16 January), placing an emphasis on creating secondary markets for recycled plastics in its bid to create a truly circular economy in Europe.
A new ‘holistic’ initiative to bring together producers, processors, governments and NGOs to transform the UK plastics system and tackle the problem of plastic pollution is being developed by WRAP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
The UK needs a nationwide deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and overhaul producer responsibility rules if it is to turn back the tide on plastic waste entering the environment, according to Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee.
The packaging industry is celebrating after EU negotiations ruled that packaging would retain its Internal Market legal base, making it harder for national governments to introduce unilateral bans for environmental reasons.
The Government Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Mark Walport, has warned about the sheer bulk of waste being produced in the UK before emphasising the opportunities for generating value from this waste and creating a more prosperous society.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has reportedly laid out plans to make recycling easier for families by requiring greater consistency in recycling collections across the UK, as well as reducing the total amount of plastic used in the UK, as part of a four-point plan.
Agreement on legislation designed to make Europe more resource efficient has been welcomed by industry groups, but with the caveat that reduced ambition in EU plans risks slowing down the transition to a circular economy.
The UK could be heading for a future consisting of increased dangerous chemical use, poorly designed products and less ambitious waste reduction targets if the risks thrown up by Brexit are not properly dealt with, according to a new report by think tank Green Alliance.