UK’s May announces 25-year environmental plan, including plastic waste reduction
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UK’s May announces 25-year environmental plan, including plastic waste reduction

January 11, 2018

The Raw Data

Unspun and unbiased. These are the facts.

On Thursday, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May announced a 25-year plan for the environment that includes eliminating all “avoidable” plastic wastes by 2042. The plan includes extending a 5 pence tax on plastic bags to apply to all retailers. It also proposes a possible charge on single-use plastic containers and the creation of “plastics-free” aisles at supermarkets where items would not be packaged in plastic.

The environment department headed by Michael Gove authored the plan and published it on Thursday. It also includes proposals for government-funded research on plastics innovation and government aid to developing nations to reduce plastic waste and pollution.

May said that plastic waste can end up in waterways and oceans, and that one third of fish caught in the English Channel contain some pieces of plastic in them. She said she would lobby leaders at a Commonwealth summit in April for a charter by the member states of the Commonwealth of Nations to reduce plastic waste in oceans. The Commonwealth of Nations is a group of 52 states, mostly former-British colonies, which includes Canada and Australia.

“Today I can confirm that the UK will demonstrate global leadership. We must reduce the demand for plastic, reduce the number of plastics in circulation and improve our recycling rates,” Conservative party leader May said while announcing the plan.  

Greenpeace noted that the plan did not contain a deposit return program for plastic bottles. The government had said it would consider such a program.

Friends of the Earth, a non-governmental environmental organization, said a “clear timetable” for the 25-year plan was needed. Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn said 25 years was “far too long” to take action.

The plan is not yet part of any legislation.

Sources: BBC, The Guardian