Wales set to tackle single-use plastic

By: Erin O'Neill
Date posted: 8 May 2018

The Welsh government are gearing up to tackle the throwaway plastic crisis, as Environment Minister Hannah Blythyn announces plans to reduce their plastic waste.

A lot of the litter we find on Welsh beaches are single-use plastic items, which often don’t make it to kerbside recycling

Clare Reed,
Marine Policy Officer
Marine Conservation Society

This is thought to include working with other parts of the UK on a deposit return scheme (DRS) and giving an extra £15 million to local authorities to improve recycling infrastructure, to help with the disposal of plastic items.

The English and Scottish governments have already shown their support for a deposit return scheme, so an announcement from Wales is well overdue.

The Environment Minister also announced plans to make Wales the world’s first ‘Refill Nation’ by making drinking water available in more public places.

Clare Reed, Marine Policy Officer for Wales at the Marine Conservation Society said: “We welcome the commitment from the Welsh government to tackle waste in Wales. Although Wales is to be congratulated on its already high recycling rates, a lot of the litter we find on Welsh beaches are single-use plastic items, which often don’t make it to kerbside recycling.”

Reports suggest that recycling rates in Wales could increase to over 90% if a DRS is implemented. Clare also said a DRS would encourage more people to dispose of and recycle their empty drinks containers responsibly, and alongside a refill scheme would influence people to invest in reusable bottles that they can fill up at different locations while they’re on-the-go.

“A levy on ‘on-the-go’ single-use plastic items such as coffee cups, plastic cutlery, straws and fast-food trays will also help encourage consumers to think twice about using something for fifteen minutes that could remain in the environment for a long, long time.” Clare said.

“Hand-in-hand with this, we would also like to see more responsibility placed on supermarkets to use less product packaging and to make this more recyclable in order to reduce the amount of waste that has to go to landfill. These measures are essential if we are collectively going to be able to stop the plastic tide, which could result in their being more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050.” She added.

MCS looks forward to seeing the specific plans that Wales will set out to tackle the plastic waste problem. Among other things, we have high hopes that there will be a charge on single-use plastics announced in the same fashion as the current call for evidence from the UK government.

The UK government are currently asking the public their opinion on a throwaway plastic tax. Let the government know that you have had enough of single-use plastic before 18th May.

Actions you can take

  1. Help stop the plastic tide
  2. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2017
  3. Help us stop the plastic tide

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