United KINGDOM action plan to combat the plastic waste menace


A four-point plan for tackling plastic waste has been highlighted by the Environment secretary Michael Gove.

He told the BBC News that he wants to reduce the amount of plastic used in the UK, and to make it more simple for people to recycle.

Environmentalists fear Mr Gove will be reluctant to set more stringent rules for companies that would benefit from the use of plastics.

The Environment Secretary has presented his thoughts on the occasion of an informal meeting.

He says that he wants:

Cut the total amount of plastic in circulation.
Reduce the number of different plastics in use, because this will help the recycling companies
Improve the recycling rate, which has declined recently.
And to make it easier for individuals to know what goes in the recycling bin and what goes in general rubbish.

Reality check: Are seafood lovers eat the plastic?

Recycling programs are often different from one borough to another, which makes it very confusing for households.

Mr Gove has said that he planned to introduce the standards through the local authorities to make recycling easier.

But Martin Tett, of the Local Government Association told the BBC News does not. He said: “Common standards for recycling would not be effective, because there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem.”

“A key element is the reduction of the amount of recyclable waste that we produce in the first place, that is why it is essential for manufacturers and retailers to work with us to achieve this goal.

“What we need is a packaging that is easily recycled – this would not only make waste disposal easier for our residents, but to save considerable amounts of money and energy, while protecting our environment. The expansion of the capacity

Mr. Gove agreed that the UK needs to develop its capacity to recycle, especially in light of China’s decision to refuse to recycle Uk waste in the future.

In the short term, he said, the UK would be to look at the East Asia of the united nations to recycle Uk waste. But he said in the longer term, the nation must “stop the offshoring of our land”.

He said that he was prompted to action by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet series, which has highlighted the harm to marine life from plastic waste.


Mr Gove has already been consulting with the drinks companies on a deposit scheme to reduce the amount of plastic bottles find their way into rivers and the sea.

Some environmentalists doubt that the plastics manufacturers, the retailers, the manufacturers of beverage and fast-food establishments will volunteer to take the necessary measures to reduce the use of plastics.

Dr Dominic Hogg, from Eunomia consulting, said the plastics issue was huge, complex and urgent.

He told the BBC News the problem started with the industry by allowing granules used for the production of plastics escape into the environment.Clamping down

Then, he said that there are big problems with current recycling.

“We have a variety of collection and sorting,” he said. “Not all of which generate good quality of plastic. The Chinese are on the point of closing the border on us. We have a real problem.

“We are not recycling enough plastic. We are obsessed with convenience. Too many things are used to offer a product that is soon discarded – often without recycling.

“What we do is increasingly incinerated and incinerators are not efficient generators of electrical energy.”

Many countries are trying to tackle plastic waste. Kenya, for example, is one of the many African nations that have banned single-use plastic bags. It is now on the verge of clamping down on the plastic bottles, too.

Plastic waste is just one of the great questions of Mr Gove from the tray. The Environment Secretary told me that he also has the goal to unveil the government’s long-delayed 25-year Plan for the Environment in the New Year.

He acknowledged that the recent brexit negotiations had delayed its plans for an early reform of the fisheries and the agricultural policy of the united KINGDOM.

He confessed that the “brexit” in the face of you are aware of the policies of the EU during the transition period would make early changes extremely difficult.

Mr Gove said he was working with the Department for International Development (DIFD) to see how the UK’s aid money could be used to help developing countries to combat the tide of plastic waste.

This would be on the agenda for the next Commonwealth heads of government meeting, he said.

He said he also wanted to expand the united KINGDOM is the global leader of the network of protected areas of the ocean round the distant territories.

Follow Roger on Twitter.