Click here to go back to News listing.May 03, 2012
Defra Minister Lord Taylor labels UK plastic waste levels as ‘Shameful’, but highlights their importance to reaching government recycling targets.
Defra minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach has labelled the amount of unnecessary plastic waste produced by UK households as ‘shameful’ in a speech this week, but also revealed that tackling how we manage plastic waste could represent our biggest chance to meet our recycling targets.
The speech - delivered at the headquarters of recycling charity Recoup - Lord Taylor confirmed that government figures showed that last year 240,000 tonnes of plastic bottles were sent to a landfill by households which have kerb-side plastic recycling collection readily available to them.
The figure - which represents around half of all plastic bottles used in the UK could have had a value of £91m had they been properly recycled.
In the annual budget, the government set a target of 42% for plastic recycling by 2017 - and Taylor argued that tackling the waste management of the humble plastic bottle represents the easiest and most financially viable way to meet that goal.
“Over half a million tonnes of plastic are used each year to provide us with bottles for drinks, shampoo and kitchen cleaners, yet half of this ends up at the dump,” said Taylor. “The vast majority of these bottles could easily be recycled, and this shocking waste is costing the economy millions of pounds. I want to see a major push to end this sorry state, with businesses, councils and householders all doing their bit to address the problem.”
The coalition government will also call upon local councils and businesses to bolster it’s plastic recycling capacity, and hope to take positive steps towards realising the financial potential of the cast level of waste plastics discarded over a year.
Defra also revealed to BusinessGreen that they have a number of projects in the pipeline to tackle the way plastic is handled, including some innovative waste management methodology, including a package of voluntary targets for the recycling industry similar to those adopted by supermarkets to tackle waste levels under the Courtauld Agreement.