A Plastic Planet: Calls for further action on single-use plastic

24 MPs, Peers and NGOs are calling on the Truss Government for further action on single-use plastics. In an open letter, former Conservative Minister Lord John Randall leads the unified backing for a new strategy compiled by A Plastic Planet.

Single use plasticThe campaign is intended to be a comprehensive strategy for ministers and is titled ‘The Reduce, Refill and Replace Revolution’. It aims to set out how the UK could lead the global frontier in removing plastic from fashion and packaging.

The guidelines are based on research conducted by Yonder and show that almost three quarters of the UK public are concerned plastic bottles, tubs and trays do not get recycled into new plastics.

Under the leadership of Boris Johnson, outright bans on more plastics – including plastic sachets – had been proposed, but progress has been slow.

The letter reads: “Before coming to the throne HM King Charles III rightly said the world must move ‘from a model that encourages a buy, use, throw-away mentality, to one that facilitates reuse, recovery and regeneration’. We agree.

“The outgoing Johnson government began gathering evidence on the impact of 855 billion plastic sachets thrown away around the world each year, with a view to a comprehensive UK ban. But progress has faltered, wasting precious time. 

“New polling evidence shows that 71 per cent of the public are concerned that plastic bottles, tubs and trays do not get recycled into new plastics. As the King indicates, these items need to be replaced with alternative materials.”

The group also calls for fashion giants to “become subject to the ‘polluter pays’ principle, compelling big brands to take responsibility for the 63 per cent of their clothing materials derived from plastic.”

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet states: “Now is the time for Liz Truss to reset the government’s fortunes by showing real global leadership on plastic. 

“Picking plastic items off one by one, straws, cotton buds etc., is making no impact on the devastation plastic pollution is causing. We need a comprehensive policy with teeth that sets the UK ahead as discussions commence on the UN Global Plastics Treaty. Right now there is a vacuum of intent with England lagging far behind the EU”.

“Industry needs certainty so they can lead the change and only the government can give this certainty through fast legislation. Where viable alternatives exist, needless plastic products must be banned and innovations incentivised until all single-use plastics are replaced.”

The Reduce, Refill and Replace Revolution

The guidelines condemn plastic as being ‘materially unsuited’ to single-use. It calls for bans on single-use plastic by 2024 including plastic sachets, bags, pots, single-use bottles, and fruit and veg wrapping.

It proposes that large supermarkets – which presently use some 114 billion pieces of throwaway plastic packaging each year – be mandated to offer in-store refill solutions. They would also be required to declare annual figures on their use of plastic across the whole supply chain, from suppliers to the shelf to the consumer.

The guidelines also call for an extension of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) principle for the fast fashion industry. Fossil fuel fibres represent over 69 per cent of all materials used in textiles, which is expected to reach nearly 75 per cent by 2030.