May vows to scrap all plastic waste by 2042

Michael Gove
with his
reusable cup PIC PA

The Prime Minister was speaking at the launch of Environment Secretary Michael Gove's "25 Year Environment Strategy" which has been described as "radical" by the recycling minister, Therese Coffey.

However the plan is being criticised by charities and green groups who say the promises are not binding and can be abandoned whenever they become inconvenient.

WRAP commented that the initiative aims to eliminate "unnecessary and problematic single-use packaging" as well as ensuring plastics packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable.

The Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) said it supported the elimination of the minimum retailer size threshold but stood by the argument it put forward when the plastic carrier bag charge was originally proposed that an exemption for hot, ready to eat take-away food on hygiene grounds was fully justified.

Corner shops and other retailers with fewer than 250 employees are now exempted from the charge in England that was introduced to tackle "throwaway culture".

"Twenty-five years is a long way off - particularly for a government that might not last 25 weeks".

The Prime Minister said she wanted to "make ours the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it".

In A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment, ministers said they would consult on creating an independent watchdog "that would hold government to account for upholding environmental standards".

The Government also announced plans to extend its 5p plastic bag charge to small retailers and said it is looking at potential changes to the tax system to tackle single use plastic items such as takeaway cartons.

She is expected to say that the 2042 pledge to eliminate avoidable plastic waste, where it is "technologically, environmentally and economically practical" to do so, will be met through a series of "measures".

Brexit opponents worry that Britain will weaken environmental standards once it leaves the European Union in 2019.

"We don't want to go back to being the "dirty man of Europe", she added.

I understand that the document will cover many policy areas, including: managing land sustainably; enhancing nature and recovering wildlife; increasing people's health and well-being through nature; resource efficiency, reduction of pollution and waste and protecting and improving the global environment. "So the Government is simply playing catch up with this announcement".

Under the new proposals, people could receive 5p for every plastic bottle they return to the shops.

And Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary claimed the Conservatives' recent pronouncements on the environment were an attempt to "re-brand" the party.

Gove said the proposals signposted the government's emerging "natural capital" approach to the environment.

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