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Gove getting drastic on plastic but manufacturers must shoulder responsibility to slash production

28 March 2018

Responding to confirmation that a deposit return scheme on plastic bottles and other recyclable drinks packaging will be implemented in England, Dr Elaine King, Director of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said:

‘This is a great step forward from the Government towards getting drastic on plastic, and a clear signal that Michael Gove is taking warnings from the public and campaigners seriously.

‘But we must make sure that the responsibility to reduce plastic waste is laid squarely at the feet of the businesses who produce it. Consumers have a role to play in cutting their use and recycling, but we must slash plastic at its source if we are to stop swimming in an ocean of plastic waste.

‘We need a comprehensive plastic action plan with legally binding targets from the Government. It is essential that measures to drastically reduce plastic production are put at the heart of the Government’s plans.’

Environmental campaigners want to see a definitive action plan to meet the UK Government’s ambition of zero avoidable waste by 2050, including:

  • Clear measures and legally binding targets to slash single-use plastics as the utmost priority
  • Set deposit return scheme charges at a level that will incentivise real behaviour change
  • Invest centrally in the UK recycling infrastructure, so that all plastics and other recyclable waste can be put in every household recycling bin nationwide by 2023
  • Once a comprehensive recycling infrastructure is in place, require all packaging to have a simple recyclable or non-recyclable label, as consumers are currently baffled by recycling labelling
  • Reform Producer Responsibility Obligations to make producers financially responsible for the costs of their waste production, as 90% of the costs of waste disposal are currently footed by the taxpayer, and to incentivise eco-design for packaging