The Environmental Services Association (ESA), the voice for the UK’s resource and waste management industry, today sponsored an event hosted by think tank Bright Blue at the Conservative Party Conference on plastic pollution.
The fringe event, entitled ‘Plastic Fantastic? Exploring the current debate on plastic waste’, saw Defra Minister Thérèse Coffey, ESA, FCC, WWF and Asda discuss and debate the extent of the problem, what can be done to solve it, and whether the Government is on the right track.
ESA’s Executive Director Jacob Hayler said: “In many ways plastic is an innovative material that provides a cost-effective way to preserve shelf-life and prevent food waste. However, as Blue Planet 2 so powerfully highlighted, it all too often ends up in the ocean, killing and maiming wildlife. At the same time, the UK is only recycling around 45% of plastic packaging. This is because by the time it gets to us, it’s often too late; the plastic has not been designed for recycling, or has caused confusion for the consumer about which bin it should go in.
“ESA is therefore calling for producers to pay the true cost of managing their products at the end of life by strengthening producer responsibility. This will not only inject much needed funding in domestic recycling infrastructure, but will incentivise producers to design their products for recyclability. In turn, this will help bring clarity to consumers about what can and cannot be recycled.
“This must be complemented by measures to require producers to use recycled content in their products, without which, there is not point collecting materials for recycling in the first place.
“ESA looks forward to the publication of Defra’s Resources and Waste Strategy which we believe will set out an ambitious vision for producer responsibility.”