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MPs target packaging firms to toughen plastic waste regulations

By Caoimhe Toman

Date: Friday 22 Dec 2017

MPs target packaging firms to toughen plastic waste regulations

(ShareCast News) - The UK Environmental Audit Committee is targeting packaging firms and supermarkets to "turn back the tide" on plastic waste and recycling.
According to the report from the EAC a deposit return scheme across the UK is needed to encourage consumers to return the plastic bottles to a designated place and not throw them out.

They also request an increase of public water fountains and making producers financially responsible for the plastic packaging of their products.

According to the UN oceans chief Lisa Svensson, the plastic waste in seas and oceans is a planetary crisis and one that is easily avoidable. The Committee has demanded that the UK takes immediate action.

Mary Creagh, the MP that chairs the EAC, said that the rate of the increase of plastic bottles in the sea would outweigh fish by 2050.

"Our throwaway society uses 13 billion plastic bottles each year, around half of which are not recycled. Plastic bottles make up a third of all plastic pollution in the sea, and are a growing litter problem on UK beaches. We need action at individual, council, regional and national levels to turn back the plastic tide."

These schemes that the EAC is proposing would boost plastic bottle recycling at a 90% rate. And also setting-up more public water fountains would reduce the consumption of plastic bottles.

Creagh said "It is unacceptable that there is no legal obligation for unlicensed cafes, restaurants and sports centres to provide free drinking water on request. The UK has safe, clean tap water and failing to provide it leads to unnecessary use of plastic water bottles which clog up our rivers and seas."

The Committee also said that packaging producers only pay for 10% of the cost of their disposal and recycling, and taxpayers pay for the remaining 90%. They have asked the government to adopt producer responsibility and raise the charges of packaging that is difficult to recycle.

The Committee have also asked the government to force these firms reuse their plastics so that at least 50% of the package is recycled.

"Packaging producers don't currently have to bear the full financial burden of recycling their packaging. By reforming producer responsibility charges, the Government can ensure that producers and retailers will have financial incentives to design packaging that is easily recyclable, or face higher compliance costs," said Creagh.

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