Drowning in Plastic on the BBC last night showed the depth of the problem faced by plastic waste. While centred on the far east, the same challenges face every country today. Much of the UK’s waste plastic is sent abroad – to countries like Indonesia – where regulations on disposal are less stringent.
Here at the Scottish Plastic Recycling Centre of Excellence, we want to see change. But it doesn’t come from simply banning plastics, which bring thousands of benefits over other materials. It comes from thinking responsibly about how we use plastics and how we dispose and reuse them.
Therefore we’re publishing our SIX-POINT PLAN on how real changes can be made.
1) Real conversation on unrecyclable plastic. Not done by a government think tank. Not done by a plastic manufacturer. A conversation had by recyclers – the people who are faced with the task of trying to reuse the plastic.
2) Taxes on unrecyclable plastic. Recent noises by the UK government are a good step forward, but a tax on fully recyclable single-use packaging will just force manufacturers into using unrecyclable reusable packaging, which ultimately, will be worse for the environment.
3) Tackle littering. A daily walk along any canal system in the UK shows the scale of the problem. Humans must take responsibility for making sure waste gets to the bin and real deterrents must be in place.
4) Investment in recycling infrastructure for hard to recycle materials. This shouldn’t be the usual government investment in “bottle to bottle” recycling facilities. This should be commercially led projects having access to loans and other investment benefits to allow the creation of real plastic recycling infrastructure in the UK. Projects such as this with Impact Recycling (own a plastic recycling company – click here to find out more)
5) A ban on exporting. With waste collection privatised the big five multinationals handling UK’s waste are duty bound by shareholders to find the cheapest options for handling your waste. Frequently this means the material is loaded into containers and shipped overseas. Overseas to places like Indonesia where the material can simply be dumped in the environment. Some of that plastic you saw last night could have been yours.
6) Incentives for manufacturers to use recycled material – how about a reduction in VAT rate for all products using 20% recyclate? Give people a financial incentive and they will follow.
By all working together we can make a difference and make the world a cleaner and safer place to live in.
Find out more: Impact Recycling – Crowdcube