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Pledge on single-use plastics

Plastic is on everyone’s minds at the moment and so it should be. Our social conscience is ensuring that plastic recycling is right at the top of government priorities and at the heart of communities too. It’s all well and good saying we need to change our approach to single-use plastic and plastic use in general but how do we actually do this when it’s part consumer part business problem? Businesses can start to recycle more and not create products with as much mixed plastic in its packaging and consumers can choose to buy products made from recyclable packaging and always keep a bag for life handy for the shops.

What are the government doing though?

The latest from Downing Street is a pledge from Chancellor Philip Hammond, who in his Spring financial statement (13 March 2018) pledged to get a hold on single-use plastics via a change to the tax system or by some sort of levy or charge. A research fund has also been promised, where work by universities and other will kick start more conversations and ideas on how to make changes and the rather depressing environmental outcome if we don’t. The Chancellor recognises there is much public awareness now and so people will be ready to do their bit. There’s clearly no better time to make changes.

The single-use plastics pledge

The official consultation document produced is titled: “Tackling the plastic problem: using the tax system or charges to address single-use plastic waste” and is available to read at: Treasury consultations. It notes that financial measures do exist in the environmental sector including the Landfill Tax and the PRN packaging waste regulations.

It also says: “This call for evidence will explore how changes to the tax system or charges could be used to reduce the amount of single-use plastics we waste in order to deliver better environmental outcomes, which would be the primary objective of any such intervention. Specifically, the government would like to understand how further economic incentives can be effective in continuing to reduce waste from single-use plastics by reducing unnecessary production, increasing reuse, and improving recycling. Alongside this, the government would like to explore how the same economic incentives can drive innovation, for example by stimulating businesses to develop and integrate new technology, or by encouraging growth in the recycling industry by addressing barriers to investment”.

What can we expect from it?

The Treasury has said that the call for evidence “will explore how changes to the tax system or charges could be used to reduce the amount of single-use plastics we waste by reducing unnecessary production, increasing reuse, and improving recycling”. So, they are hoping that by looking at the whole supply chain right from production through to retail, consumption and disposal they can encourage businesses and consumers to reduce plastic waste and recycle it better, if it needs to be produced. It is apparent they want to consider all options to specifically “drive innovation”. Without this funding it may not be possible to look at other ways to use plastics in packaging or how to recycle it accurately and effectively.

Our thoughts

As suppliers of recycling machinery, including shredders and granulators for plastic, we welcome this decision and consultation. The time is right to make a change where single-use plastic is concerned. Plastic comes in many forms and offers all sorts of solutions to manufacturing, engineering and construction challenges. If it can be used for projects where it will be used more than once and can’t be thrown away and end up in the sea then where is the problem in that? But for now, perceptions need to change, habits need to change and hopefully with research and funding the planet can halt the plastic problem before it is too late.

We welcome your thoughts and opinions on the plastic waste conversation so please drop us an email: info@fercell.com with your thoughts or follow our social media links and Tweet us or comment on our pages.

Article: Natalie Owen, Marketing Executive

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