Plastic Pollution, 8 Ways the UK is Cracking Down.

plastics

Plastic Pollution, 8 Ways the UK is Cracking Down.

Around the planet, governments, businesses, and citizens are working to tackle the huge amount of plastic pollution. Now, the UK is very much on board — with a 25-year plan which aims to “set the global gold standard” on eliminating plastic, as per environment minister Michael Gove.

1. Banning Microbeads

The tiny plastics are so abundant that as many as 100,000 could be washed down the drain in just one shower. As they’re too small to be filtered out, they end up in the ocean, damaging the diets of marine animals, and finishing up in our food chain. 

2. Plastic-Free Aisles in Supermarkets

This is part of the 25-year plan announced by Theresa May, and ties into the zero-waste efforts that were reported last year.

Supermarkets are asked to set up “plastic-free aisles,” in which all the food is loose, giving shoppers the opportunity to make environmentally-friendly choices.

3. Extending the 5p Carrier Bag Tax

The 5 Pence plastic bag tax was introduced in October 2015, and there has been a 90% fall in their use. 9 billion fewer bags are being used across the UK. This is another of the government’s newly-announced initiatives, and would see the 5p bag tax that has already been introduced in supermarkets rolled out across everywhere. It would bring England — which exempts retailers with fewer than 250 employees from the bag charge, like corner shops — into line with other UK countries.

4. Banning Cottonbuds

This one happens in only Scotland so far, and under new Scottish government plans.

It follows concerns about the amount of cotton buds being washed up on beaches after being disposed down the toilet. A campaign has already led to most retailers changing to paper-stemmed buds instead. Plastic ones are still sold. Scotland is going to ban them completely.

5. Plastic Straws

These unsightly items might also find that their days are ending. — thanks to The Final Straw campaign.

6. Cutting Down on Plastic Bottles

Michael Gove is reported to be set to finally unveil plans for a scheme where consumers could earn 5p for every plastic bottle they return to shops. The “deposit return scheme” is a “tried-and-tested” way of keeping bottles out of the oceans, according to Greenpeace, and are also popular with the public.

7. Getting Rid of Disposable Coffee Cups

Ministers are reported to be contemplating a proposal for a 25p charge on disposable coffee cups — experts say could put a serious hole in the 5 billion cups discarded every year.

8. Making Industries Take More Responsibility

A lot of the responsibility for cutting down on plastic pollution lies with members of the public But, the 25-year plan has addressed that apparent imbalance. One of the steps announced is to encourage industries to take greater responsibilities for the environmental impacts of their own products, and for making them easier to recycle.

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