Recent figures produced by the trading organisation ‘Plastics Europe’ have shown that the UK alone uses an astonishing 3.7 million tonnes of plastic each year, with over 2.7 million of this plastic being shipped over to China since 2012.
However, a recent ban on plastic imports in January 2018 by the Chinese government will have a huge impact on the increase of pollution in the UK, according to key statistics in the environmental industry. You can read more about this here.
As well as this, the Chinese government have also decreased the amount of cardboard imports. As a result, this will also put increased pressure on the British recycling industry. Due to the quality of productivity in sorting plants in the UK having to now increase because of this, the cost for this service for councils would increase. Consequently, this could result in some councils refusing to collect certain types of plastics in order to reduce plastic at sorting plants.
Due to this, and in addition to Theresa May’s hope to reduce plastic waste completely within the next 25 years, it’s no wonder large food company’s and supermarkets feel so responsible and pressured to drastically reduce plastic packaging and how much of it they distribute to their customers.
So, who is doing their bit?
The Asian food chain Wagamama’s is the most recent restaurant to claim that from 22nd April 2018 they are going to ditch using plastic straws. Instead they will use biodegradable paper straws, which will only be available upon request. Wagamama’s is not the only food chain to discontinue their use of plastic straws. In 2017, JD Wetherspoon announced that they now offer paper straws in over 900 of their pubs and have stopped putting plastic straws in customers drinks automatically. McDonald’s are also playing their part by using recyclable plastic straws and continuously looking for ways to reduce straw consumption in their fast food restaurants.
Additionally, earlier this week the supermarket chain Iceland announced that they aim to eliminate all plastic packaging on their own-label products by the end of 2023. Tesco also aims to make all of it’s packaging recyclable and Sainsbury’s want to half the amount of packaging it uses within the next 2 years, and of course lets not forget the new law enforced by the government that requires customers to pay 5p for each plastic carrier bag they buy.
However, while these attempts to help the environment were praised by customers and campaigners, it is still questioned whether they are enough.
How you could help to reduce plastic waste
It’s not just down to the large chain companies to change their ways in order to help the environment. There’s little things you could do each day to help reduce plastic waste.
For example, when food shopping, look out for food with the least plastic packaging and check to see if the packaging is biodegradable. You could also buy the bags for life and re-use them rather than purchasing the cheaper 5p plastic carrier bags.
Always remember to separate your recycling from your waste, out in public and at home, to ensure as much waste is recycled as possible, so that minimal waste has to go to landfill sites, and when hiring a skip company ensure they recycle as much of their waste as possible. You can hire a skip here at Findaskip, where we are recycling 90% of our waste!
You can learn more about how to reduce the amount of plastic waste you create here.
Remember – every little helps!