81 NGOs (non-governmental organisations) have signed an open letter calling on the UK government to extend its upcoming consultation on banning UK plastic waste exports to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
The coalition of civil society groups from close to 40 countries has called on the UK government to back a “comprehensive ban” on UK plastic waste exports ahead of an anticipated government consultation.
Some of the signatories are from the top recipient nations of UK plastic waste, the Netherlands, Turkey and Germany all of which are in the OECD.
The consultation, due this summer, is expected to explore a ban on sending UK plastic waste to countries outside the OECD. The letter calls for the consultation to also include a ban on UK plastic waste exports to OECD nations too.
The move by the groups, coordinated by Greenpeace UK and the Environmental Investigation Agency, adds to other calls for the government to bring forward a full ban on UK plastic waste exports.
We have to stem that flow, but the government’s current proposal is like building a dam with a hole in the middle.
In the last year, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee and the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency Sir James Bevan have also all called for a full ban. However, the Recycling Association criticised Bevan for his comments.
Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin said: “Perhaps we are fortunate that Sir James is stepping down from his role at the end of this month, as this isn’t the first time he has overstepped the mark as a civil servant by giving his inaccurate personal opinion.”
Speaking after the letter was sent, Nina Schrank, plastics campaign lead at Greenpeace UK, said: “It’s scandalous that the UK continues to dump so much of its plastic waste on the rest of the world to deal with. We have to stem that flow, but the government’s current proposal is like building a dam with a hole in the middle.
“Too many people in places like Turkey or Poland will be left to suffer with the health and environmental consequences of our failure to deal with our own waste within our own shores. Banning waste to OECD nations must be included in the government’s upcoming consultation. Because only a full ban on UK plastic waste exports will rise to the scale of the plastic crisis.”