Following the launch of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan last week, with a keen focus on what Theresa May called the ‘scourge’ of plastic waste, the Environment Agency has announced a £750,000 investment to address plastic pollution in the South West of England.
The Environment Agency will be able to lock the gates at problem waste sites and force operators to clear all their waste under new waste crime powers to be introduced by the government this spring, while a consultation is considering further measures to take.
Chinese restrictions on imports of 24 grades of solid waste were adopted on Monday and are set to cause significant discomfort in the UK recycling sector, with the Recycling Association saying that stockpiled plastics are already building up in members’ yards.
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.