19 Dec 2017
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced a new four-point plan to tackle the amount of plastic waste in the UK and improve recycling standards.
Gove was reportedly inspired by David Attenborough’s most recent nature documentary series, Blue Planet II, after seeing the devastating effects of plastic waste on marine life, and China’s decision to ban imported plastic from the UK – further pressure on waste management companies that are already strained from the volume of waste produced.
The plan includes:
- Cutting the amount of plastic in circulation
- Reducing the variety of plastics used to help ease the recycling process
- Improving the rate of recycling
- Making it easier for consumers to identify what items can be recycled and what goes into general rubbish
Gove is supposedly considering introducing common standards across the country as schemes can differ between regions and councils, but has faced criticism on the pending decision.
Speaking to BBC News, Martin Tett, Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘Common standards for recycling wouldn't be effective, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem.
‘A key component is reducing the amount of unrecyclable waste we produce in the first place, which is why it's essential that manufacturers and retailers work with us to achieve this.’
In London alone, the average household recycling rate was only 32%, compared with the national average of 43%. Westminster – home to the majority of government departments and ministries – was named as one of the four worst London boroughs for recycling earlier this year.
‘What we need is packaging that is easily recyclable – this would not only make waste disposal easier for our residents, but save considerable amounts of money and energy, whilst protecting our environment,’ said Tett.
By Georgina Hines