United Kingdom pledges to cut all avoidable plastic waste by 2042

WRAP launches initiative to 'transform' plastic system

Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has announced her intention to end all plastic waste deemed "avoidable" in the UK by 2042.

It is estimated that 8.3bn tonnes of plastic have been produced since the 1950s. The need to cut on plastic waste has become urgent since research have exposed that this waste will reach 34 billions tones by 2050 if no action is taken to cut demand.

In the United Kingdom alone, during its recent Great British Beach Clean Up, the Marine Conservation Society found 718 pieces of litter for every 100m stretch of beach surveyed, and of this, rubbish from food and drink made up at least one fifth. Out of this rubbish, at least one-fifth was made from food and drink. She outlined plans for a tax or charge on single use packaging and urged retailers to introduce plastic-free aisles.

This will give consumers the choice to make greener decisions and promote the use of less damaging plastic packaging, according to the Government.

"Respecting nature's intrinsic value and making sure we are wise stewards of our natural world is critical if we are to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it".

In the plans, the government also says it will meet all existing targets on landfill, reuse and recycling and develop ambitious future targets and milestones. He said: "We will bring together every body, business and organisation involved in the life-cycle of plastics to make the move from a throw away culture to one where resources are used over and over again".

In 2015, Britain introduced a charge of 5 pence on all single-use plastic bags provided by large shops, which led to an 83 percent reduction in United Kingdom plastic bags used in the first year. She also wants to support transition to cars with low to free carbon emissions by 2025.

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Greenpeace has praised the Government for wanting to tackle plastic waste, but called the plans a "missed opportunity" as they do not match the "scale of the environmental crisis".

Further asserting Britain's position as a global leader, Theresa May wants to help developing nations that are at risk of raising oceans level to tackle pollution.

Mrs May also says she is putting Ocean Rescue on the agenda at a Commonwealth summit in April and pledging to use more United Kingdom aid on ridding the oceans of plastic waste.

Finally, the Prime Minister wants to increase the United Kingdom marine protected area and establish new Blue Belt protections in the UK's Overseas Territories.

"As it stands, the government's plan is little more than a kneejerk reaction which works as a placeholder prior to the looming policy changes ahead in our post-Brexit landscape", said Carvell.

"We look back in horror at some of the damage done to our environment in the past and wonder how anyone could have thought that, for example, dumping toxic chemicals untreated into rivers was ever the right thing to do".

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